The goal of our reading program is to instill a love of reading for a variety of texts. In a literature-rich environment, children are exposed not only to different types of texts but also to different writing styles through author studies and small group reading instruction. Emphasis is placed on comprehension strategies in addition to decoding skills so that students learn how to use reading to inspire thought in addition to sounding out the words on a page.
Children learn phonics through small-group instruction so that all students are able to progress no matter what level they are in reading. In these small groups, children are given the opportunity to think, predict, and make thoughtful reflections about texts with their peers. Through rich discussions, students learn the skills necessary for close reading and practice elaborating, describing, and providing details about the text. Sight words are learned through hands on and kinetic activities, songs and chants, and art in order to keep learning fun. Vocabulary is increased through direct instruction in higher level vocabulary skills during every subject of the day and practiced during daily discussions.
Teacher chosen texts for Writing and Literacy lessons are pulled from a variety of cultures to help serve as a platform for multicultural education. Biographies, nonfiction, fiction, plays, poetry, fairy tales, and social-emotional books are all used to help spotlight the wide array of ethnicities found in our classroom and in our world.
Children are full of ideas and as early as Preschool we help our students learn how to express themselves. Writing in the Early Childhood classroom can be seen across the curriculum and shows up as an important learning tool during STEM, Math, Social Studies, and Language Arts. Writing and illustration helps children reflect on what they know, utilize their imaginations, organize their thoughts, and practice transferring the ideas in their heads onto paper.
Through direct instruction with the nationally acclaimed handwriting program Handwriting Without Tears(r), students learn letter and word formation, spacing, and drawing in a hands-on and fun manner. Essential fine motor skills are practiced daily through learning activities and during Centers time. Using a variety of hands-on tools and mediums, students build their finger and hand strength while developing spatial reasoning and comfort crossing the midline.
In Language Arts, students use Master Authors and Illustrators for inspiration as they learn how to tell a story, express an opinion, and teach others through their writing. Beginning with a comprehensive look at illustration, students practice organizing and presenting their thoughts, paying attention to detail, and making careful decisions in regards to medium and color, all while working on their fine motor skills in a fun and engaging manner. Building on their illustrations, they learn how to write descriptive labels, captions, full sentences, and eventually full stories. Students learn basic rules of grammar, such as capitalization and punctuation, through songs and chants and create personal dictionaries and word journals to practice spelling and vocabulary. Rubrics and writing goals are used to help students reflect on their work and teacher and peer feedback is ongoing. Writing is always celebrated through our Author’s Chair where students read aloud their finished pieces to their peers.