As students read for comprehension, joy and critical thinking are emphasized. Exposure to a variety of genres takes place in a context of an interdisciplinary curriculum. Both reading and writing are taught in all disciplines across the curriculum. Individual and group instruction are used to teach basic skills in decoding (picture, context and syntax cues and phonics). The skills of predicting, making inferences, identifying main and supporting ideas, recognizing character, plot and setting, and identifying author’s perspective are included. Students read to gather information for history, science and other projects.
The writing program emphasizes the process of writing. Students use the stages of the writing process – collecting, drafting, revising, editing and publishing – to develop pieces of writing over time. Students write every day and Writer’s Workshop takes place almost daily. In Writer’s Workshop, students participate in age-appropriate mini-lessons. Here they learn strategies specific to the genre they are writing and the stage of the writing process they are using. These mini-lessons include collecting strategies (brainstorming, webbing, mapping), ways to develop drafts, methods for revising content and strategies for editing spelling, punctuation, grammar and sentence structure. Students share writing regularly and have conferences with peers and teachers frequently. Students read and write in a variety of genres. Vocabulary is emphasized. High-frequency, priority spelling words are learned. Speaking and listening opportunities occur regularly as students share work with a partner, the class, or the whole school. Handwriting is emphasized in the lower grades and shifts to word processing as students mature.
Middle SchoolThe Middle School humanities program is an amalgamation of history and English. Much of the content is driven by the social studies program as a variety of genres and ideas are explored. Writing and critical thinking skills are emphasized in both written work and dialogue; students are required to articulate their ideas and lead class discussions at various times throughout the year.