Reading instruction takes place constantly throughout the day, both in whole group activities and targeted, small group work. Grouping is fluid, flexible and dependent upon the needs of individual children. Sally Weir, the reading specialist, will co-teach small groups so that all children have the opportunity to work with her as well as with the classroom teacher. We launch our reading workshop by determining your child’s reading level using the Fountas and Pinnell Reading Level program. When your child’s beginning level is determined, they receive a bin of books at their independent level, which we call “just right books.” The children are screened throughout the year, and reading material is adjusted to fit their needs.
We use a combination of basal readers (Harcourt Trophies), leveled readers, and trade books. Students will read fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Grade 1 utilizes the Reading C.A.F.E. (Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, and Extended Vocabulary) and The Daily 5 - Read to Self, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, Word Work, and Work on Writing.
Students will write daily. The core of the writing curriculum is the daily Writing Workshop, in which children create stories, poems, and books of their own. Writer’s craft will be taught through both small group and whole group lessons. Conventions such as capitalization, punctuation, and use of familiar spelling patterns will be taught and expected in everyday writing.
The vocabulary of The Six Traits of Writing will be taught and used as the children evaluate and improve their own writing. The six traits of good writing are ideas, organization, word choice, sentence fluency, voice, and conventions. Children will study the work of many authors as they learn to “read like writers,” studying favorite books for ideas and inspiration as they develop their own writing.
The Fountas and Pinnell Phonics Program introduces various spelling patterns and sounds. Word study provides students with opportunities to investigate and understand the patterns in words through a variety of activities in class. Spelling "rules" are not just dictated by the teacher for students to memorize, rather, spelling patterns and generalizations are discovered by students.
Handwriting Without Tears is used to focus on the proper formation of lower and upper case letters. Appropriate pencil grip is also stressed. Printing is taught cohesively during word study activities.