Mr. Joseph DeRisi, Literacy Coach (Rutgers University)

Hawthorne Avenue School takes pride in helping our students reach that next level. When it comes to reading we strive to help all of our students reach their grade appropriate independent reading benchmark. We meet our students where they are and structure our lessons based on the differentiated needs of each individual child.

Our goal is to have all students leave each and every grade reading at or above grade level. An enormous feat? Yes! But we have the right staff teaching the right grade level based on the needs of our students. We realize that without the power of being able to read the written word, our students will face all and every hardship in life.

Reading is the primary at Hawthorne Avenue School. We know that being able to read is the key that unlocks all the disciplines, whether it is writing, mathematics, science, or social studies, we must get our students reading. Not just reading but reading well enough that they comprehend and can converse about the text that they read. Our K-8 classrooms are focusing on utilizing best practices in literacy during their Language Arts Block. K-3 classrooms are working on Guided Reading, Message Time Plus, Reader’s Workshop, Intentional Read Alouds, Literacy Stations, and Independent Reading. Our 4-8 classrooms are are also utilizing Guided Reading, Literacy Stations, Novel Studies, Independent Reading, Book Clubs, and Literacy Stations.

Every classroom’s learning focus is guided by the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards. Additionally, each literacy class houses a classroom library collection that is organized and  labeled by genre, high student interest, DRA level, Guided Reading level, and or Lexile level. We believe that students should be able to read books at their independent level, so our Language Arts teachers have embedded Independent Reading into their literacy blocks. Our students get at least 20 minutes a day of independent reading, where they are able to just sit and read without interruption and cozy up with a good book.