Grades K-4 Elementary Curriculum for English Language Arts has at its foundation Reading Street by Pearson.  As a Core Program, Reading Street provides the basis for the scope and sequence. Individual units may be modified at a building level to infuse authentic literature experiences and project based learning opportunities.  Each classroom and grade level incorporate the following elements as part of their literacy instruction.

Literacy Block

Students participate in a 60-90 minute literacy block daily.  An example of a classroom experience may include: whole group learning (2-3 short mini lessons in comprehension, vocabulary or work study); small group instruction in teacher led and/or collaborative workstations (partner reading, reciprocal teaching, word work); and a wrap-up (summary of learning objectives).  Student work is differentiated/personalized by the classroom teacher based upon student need.

Word Study

In Kindergarten and Grades 1-2, students use Lively Letters (Reading with TLC) and Fundations (Wilson Language Training) to supplement Reading Street materials.  In Lively Letters, each letter has a character, story and song to help students associate letters and sounds. This work is reinforced through Fundations (a multi-sensory, structured language program) to establish a strong foundation for reading.  

The Components of Reading

The best approach to reading instruction is one that incorporates five critical areas of explicit reading instruction that work to help children become successful readers.  They are phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension.

Phonemic Awareness: Before children can read, they need to know that sentences are made up of words and words are made up of a sequence of letters, most of which make distinct sounds. This is called phonemic awareness. Students learn about letter-sound relationships for all of the consonant sounds and the short vowel sounds.
Phonics: Direct explicit instruction in phonics is the next step on the journey to read. Phonics is the blending of sounds to decode words. The instruction of phonics is directly connected to the instruction of spelling.
Fluency: Once students have learned the letter-sound relationships, they must know how to apply their knowledge to reading the text. They begin to read text that allows them to apply their letter-sound knowledge. Fluency is the ability to read text accurately and quickly. Fluent readers also read with expression. They do not focus their attention on the decoding of words as they read, but rather recognize the word and comprehend the meaning simultaneously.
Vocabulary: Children learn vocabulary indirectly through their everyday experiences as well as through explicit vocabulary instruction. Students are introduced to “Amazing Words” in their songs and read aloud selections. In most cases, these words are above their reading level therefore the focus is oral. In the upper grades, the expectation is that students will see and use the words in their readings, writings and discussions.
Text Comprehension: Comprehension of the text is greatly improved when students have received direct instruction in activating their prior knowledge, making predictions, understanding story structure, using graphic organizers, visualizing and using mental imagery and summarizing. There are ten core comprehension skills taught at each grade level.

Writing and the Genres

In grades K-4, students participate in writing blocks that focus on the different genres of writing throughout the school year.  Our students receive instruction in narrative, persuasive, and expository writing in connection with our reading unit plans. The main curricula used to teach writing is Framing Your Thoughts (K-1st) and Empowering Writers (2nd-4th).
In grades K & 1, students learn the structure of writing at the sentence level using Framing Your Thoughts.  They are introduced to the three main types of writing and are taught basic editing skills. Students begin to build their stamina to write for various purposes over longer periods of time.
Empowering Writers is taught beginning in grade 2 and defines the characteristics of narrative, expository and persuasive writing and provides common language and visuals that carry over throughout each grade level.  Teachers meet with students to provide specific feedback on writing and explicitly teach editing and revision skills.
Students write daily in grades K-4 for various purposes, across contents areas, and in response to text.  Writing in response to text helps build reading comprehension along with writing skills.