Language Arts

Our language arts program is designed to develop active, life-long readers, thinkers and learners who choose to read in and out of school for a variety of purposes. Research over the past 20 years has expanded our definition of a “good” reader. The recognition that reading is a thinking and problem-solving process, not an automatic response to print, has influenced instruction significantly. The process is variable and the reader must be prepared to use a wide range of strategies to meet each situation. Skilled readers adjust the way that they read depending on the complexity of the text, their familiarity with the topic and their purpose for reading.

Kindergarten - 4th Grade

In kindergarten through grade 4, our language arts program immerses students in authentic literature. Students have literature read aloud to them and have multiple daily experiences reading, writing, and discussing ideas in response to the texts they have read. Students work with the teacher in individual, small-group and whole-class instruction to meet their individual needs in reading, comprehension strategies and writing. The language arts program supports students’ social-emotional learning by directly teaching students the skills necessary to allow them to respectfully share their thinking with classmates.

An early emphasis on writing enables students to increase their vocabulary, learn the fundamentals of grammar and understand the writing process. This foundation includes phonics and a systematic writing model. Writing is a fluid, recursive process. Writers rarely move from one stage of the process to another, and they do not necessarily go through every stage with every piece. However, for instructional purposes we present all of the stages individually. Each grade level demands increasingly complex strategies be mastered in order for the students to become effective users of the written word as a form of communication. Students write and read to examine information and concepts, to look closely at literature, to explore their feelings, to organize and extend their thinking, to create, to imagine and to communicate. Although the structures of writing are taught through the language arts program, the skills learned are applied across all subject areas.

5th-8th Grade

The middle school language arts program consists of a variety of reading, writing, listening, and speaking components that foster the integration of communication, research skills, and teamwork. These components include a variety of literacy activities that progress from teacher directed, to guided practice, to independent learning, and are woven into the classroom setting to create an environment that leads students to become independent readers, writers, and thinkers.

The middle school language arts program consists of a literature class and a writing class. The literature class includes reading, literary analysis and response, as well as speaking and listening skills. Reading instruction continues to focus on mastering the skills that stronger readers need in order to use reading as a tool for learning as well as a means of relaxation and entertainment. The writing class incorporates direct writing instruction of specific genres, grammar, and vocabulary along with student choice in Writer’s Workshop. Students learn to write and speak about topics they deeply understand with supporting evidence.