Language Arts

Language Arts Builds Strong Skills

Our Elementary school Language Arts program is broken into three groups: Youngers (K-1), Middles (2-3) & Juniors (4-5)

Reading

Research shows that the ability to read is a strong indicator of overall school achievement. Adults who cannot read well will have a difficult time succeeding, even in the high tech environment of the 21st century.

Kindergarten – Grade 2

Reading is taught through the use of children’s literature.  Much of this literature (fiction and non-fiction) ties into units of study the children are learning. Children experience: reading aloud, independently and in small groups.

Initial emphasis is on phonological and phonemic awareness, leading to the decoding of words and sentences. Systematic instruction is provided for this using the Wilson Fundations Program. The Wilson program is recognized as a leader in multisensory, research-based reading instruction. Fundations was developed after more than a decade of working with pupils in a systematic and explicit method.
Each level of Fundations presents skills in a structured scope and sequence. These systematically build on previously taught skills from unit to unit, a from year to year. Some of the skills taught include:

  • Letter formation
  • Phonological and phonemic awareness
  • Sound mastery
  • Phonics
  • Vocabulary
  • Irregular word instruction
  • Fluency
  • Comprehension
  • Written Composition

Click here to learn more about Wilson Fundations: Overview of Fundations

Once a child is decoding and reading independently, s/he is encouraged to choose books to read. Studies show that once students have mastered basic reading skills, their reading improves most rapidly by regular reading in subjects of interest. For these reasons we require daily reading for all our K -6 students. at this Vero Beach private elementary school

Watch this video about D.E.A.R.

 

Independent reading and in class reading aloud of high quality literature provides the basis for our reading curriculum. This program emphasizes oral fluency, comprehension and silent reading. In addition, each child has a monthly reading requirement of 200 – 300 pages.
At the end of each month a reading summary and project are due. Students summarize their favorite book and create a project that accompanies it. They are presented to the class and the class is required to ask relevant questions of the presenter. This serves as an important assessment tool for the teacher of student reading comprehension and analysis.

Check out this video on Grade 4 & 5 Book Projects!

 Grades K-6

Drop Everything And Read (D.E.A.R) is an integral part of our reading program.  It is a time for children to self-select books from our library and read independently. During this time, teachers or volunteers read one on one, with each child focusing on the specific needs of the child whether it is with decoding, phonics, learning through context, or by responding in writing to the literature read.

Writing

Kindergarten – Grade 2

Writing is woven throughout the curriculum and children write in all subject areas including math, science, and social studies.  In addition, the children have journals for daily entries and do project writing.
Project writing varies year to year and is based on the thematic units of study the children are working on. Project examples include:

  • fairy tales
  • folk tales
  • biographies
  • autobiographies
  • research projects

Handwriting: Children learn basic manuscript and practice using a handwriting book. Willow uses the Zaner-Bloser series of workbooks to assist with teaching handwriting.
Spelling: Children are required to memorize weekly spelling lists. Spelling words are typically comprised of grade level spelling rules as well as high frequency words.

Grades 3-6

As an experiential school we believe that it is by regular practice of writing that student’s writing fluency will most rapidly improve. Writing provides the foundation for many reading and research assignments.
In class, students write regularly in their journals and are asked to share these out loud with the class. Twice a year students are required to publish a 5 – 10 page “book” of their favorite essays, poems and journal entries.

Writing is often shared one on one with fellow students in “partner conferencing”. These conferences give students the opportunity to share and critique each other’s work, while requiring them to explain and make suggestions for improvement.

Grammar and Punctuation are frequently taught in “mini-lessons”. These are 10 – 15 minute teacher presentations addressing a specific area of study. Teachers also use work sheets, quizzes, and homework assignments to reinforce these areas.

Spelling: Students are also required to memorize some of the most widely used rules of spelling, along with their exceptions. Students also review and memorize high frequency words, words with irregular patterns and irregular verbs. Each student works at his/her own level.
Handwriting: Those 3 – 6 grade students who are ready are required to use cursive writing for in class writing assignments. Zaner-Bloser workbooks are provided for anyone who is in need of regular formal practice in cursive or manuscript.

Writer’s Workshop

All students in grades K-6 participate in Writer’s Workshop. During this time, children learn about the writing process, taking stories through the various stages of writing: pre-writing (story map), 1st draft, 2nd draft, edit, revise and publish.  Children share their stories out loud with the class. Vero Beach private elementary school