Montessori is phonetics based for reading. Sight reading is used to understand some words, such as “the” and exceptions to the rules. Linda Schrock Taylor explains in detail what happens when you teach only by sight, you plateau at the 4th grade level of reading. Wow!
I remember taking a speed reading class in high school where I learned that the average American reads at the fifth grade level. Since this was well into the era of sight reading, I am no longer surprised by this fact.
Montessori was always looking for the concrete building blocks for math, reading and science. It’s amazing how she knew about 100 years ago that phonics was the way to teach reading.