The K-6 Language Arts program follows a balanced literacy framework that aligns with the Common Core State Standards. It contains all components necessary for students to master written and oral communication while simultaneously developing a love of literacy. These components include word work, Reader’s Workshop, and Writer’s Workshop.
Word work is an essential component of the program. In the primary grades, teachers provide explicit, systematic instruction in phonemic awareness and phonics. As students progress, they learn about spelling patterns and word meaning. In the final stages of development, students focus on word meanings as they learn to analyze word structure and use context clues to determine word meaning. Through all stages of word study, students participate in hands-on sorting activities where they learn to think about words, and understand how they work.
Reader’s Workshop is an instructional model for teaching reading that is part of the overall structure of balanced literacy. These structures are grounded in a strong research base. Reader's Workshop develops essential reading skills, while also fostering a love of reading. At the primary level, Big Books, leveled texts, and authentic literature are used to build an essential foundation of reading skills. At the intermediate level, students read and learn about a variety of genre, including full-length trade books and nonfiction selections. Students learn and grow through various instructional contexts including teacher modeling, mini-lessons, small group instruction, book clubs, partnerships, and independent reading. Attention is given to each student’s level of reading development while guiding him/her along the pathway to further growth as a strategic reader.
Writer’s Workshop is similar to Reader’s Workshop in many ways. This instructional model includes the following:
· Teacher modeling of his/her thought process to demonstrate how to write
· Use of mentor text to illustrate particular elements of writing
· Regular and sustained periods of time for writing
· Providing students with choice, responsibility, and the strategies needed to become independent, lifelong writers
· Providing students with the opportunity to reflect upon their writing and discuss their growth with others
Each component of this program, leads students along the path to lifelong literacy.