Language Arts Literacy

Language Arts Literacy

“Knowledge is like the bee that made the sweet honey, you have to chase it through the pages of a book!” – Thank you, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco

Our Language Arts Literacy Program is aligned to the rigor of the Common Core State Standards.  The Common Core is a set of high-quality academic standards that outline what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade. The standards were created to ensure that all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life.

At Ann Street School, we share the common belief that Literacy is crucial to the future success of our students.  Strong literacy skills will prepare our students to succeed in school and compete in society.  We are committed to strengthening the literacy skills of our students by providing explicit instruction that is rigorous, research-based, and differentiated based on the needs of our students.  Explicit and rigorous lessons prepare our students to think critically and creatively.

Program Description

A student centered approach utilizes the Cognitive Apprenticeship Model of Instruction for the purpose of developing independent learners.  Through this model, the teacher is able to guide, assist as needed, and then gradually release responsibility to the students as they take ownership and gain independence.  An integrated language arts and literacy approach allows students the opportunity to build upon their strengths and refine new strategies, while taking the necessary risks in order to grow as learners.

Curriculum Design

The instructional design is recursive; the same major strategies are taught and reinforced through grades K-5 and grades 6-8.  The curriculum is designed to ensure that each student will have command of the skills of listening, speaking, reading, writing, and viewing in alignment with the CCSS.  Through oral and written language, students will develop and expand their concepts of self, others, places, and events in the world around them.  Skills and strategies are developed by students through their interaction with a variety of materials which include:  the Harcourt Trophies literature-based reading program in grades K-5 and the McDougal Littell literature-based reading program in grades 6-8.  The integration of listening, speaking, reading, writing, and viewing supports the holistic approach to instruction through the practices of a Balanced Literacy Program.  Through the Balanced Literacy Approach, students engage in read-alouds, shared reading, word study, guided reading, independent reading, modeled writing, shared writing, interactive writing, guided writing, and independent writing.

In Writing, teachers utilize the 6+1 Traits of Writing as a model for assessing and teaching writing.  The focus is on the development of Ideas, Organization, Voice, Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, Conventions, and Presentation.

Students are immersed in a community of readers and writers as they develop their skills and practice what real readers and writers do.  Creative and critical thinking activities encourage students to generate, ponder, revise, and extend choices.  It is recognized that all students need to be challenged and our expectations remain high.

Wilson Fundations®

Based on the Wilson Reading System® principles, Wilson Fundations® provides research-based materials and strategies for reading, spelling, and handwriting.  This program lays the groundwork for life-long literacy.  Students in grades K-2 receive a systematic program in critical foundational skills, emphasizing:

  • Phonemic awareness
  • Phonics/word study
  • High frequency word study
  • Reading fluency
  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension strategies
  • Handwriting
  • Spelling

The instruction aligns with the Common Core State Standards and is combined with the core literature-based program for an integrated and comprehensive approach to reading and spelling.

Reading Recovery Program

Reading Recovery is a highly effective short-term intervention of one-to-one tutoring for low-achieving first graders. The goal of Reading Recovery is to dramatically reduce the number of first-grade students who have extreme difficulty learning to read and write.  Individual students receive a half-hour lesson each school day for 12 to 20 weeks with a specially trained Reading Recovery teacher. As soon as students can meet grade-level expectations and demonstrate that they can continue to work independently in the classroom, their lessons are discontinued.

Focus on Student Work

Each month, students are required to apply what they have learned in different genres through the writing process.  Students also engage in writing for different purposes across the curriculum in Math, Science, and Social Studies.  Teachers analyze the student writing and reflect on their teaching practices.  The student data is used to tailor instruction that will address students’ needs and build upon their strengths.

*A Note from the Literacy Coach

It is our goal that all students will develop into proficient and strategic readers and writers and that every one of our students will also develop a love for reading and writing that extends way beyond their school years. Reading and writing are crucial to the success of our students because both are connected to all learning.  We will continue to work together to provide literacy instruction that truly makes a difference in the lives of our students.

Kelly Piret, Literacy Coach