Monmouth County Private School : K-2 Literacy
The children in the K-2 literacy classes are welcomed into an environment where they are immersed in literacy on a daily basis. During Literacy, these students are exposed to a variety of genres; their reading is balanced and varied. Reading and writing builds bridges of understanding between children, as we share new ideas and personal impressions of each story we explore. Reading also informs each child’s perspective as a writer.
Our younger students, transition to reading instruction time each day. Reading instruction provides the children with their own independent group or teacher-directed work opportunities that are specific to each student’s ability and needs, as assessed by the teacher. These reading activities include building dictionary skills, using a glossary, index and table of contents, and a wide variety of grammar tasks. Students also retell stories, discuss content to build comprehension, complete nursery rhyme puzzles, illustrate stories, tell stories through acting, and create books inspired by books they have read. All of these activities provide students with differentiated learning experiences overseen by a teacher and are designed to move students to the next level in literacy development.
Students regularly engage in “focus units” as a class. During these units, books are chosen around a central topic, whether it be a theme, an author, or a particular element of literature. These books are studied in a whole class environment and it is here that a common language is developed as students begin to discuss literature on a deeper level. As students gain confidence and aptitude in discussing literature, they are given the opportunity to carry out this kind of discourse in small group settings. Finally, once independence is gained, students are invited to join independent literature study groups where they read and discuss titles together.
In the Lower Team, time for writing is scheduled every day. Each student has a personal Writer’s Journal as well as a writing folder and a personal dictionary or word list, that is used daily. In the K-2 classroom, the children learn to recognize beginning writing features such as spaces between words, capital letters, punctuation marks, writing from left to right and making a return sweep for the second line of writing. Students who have progressed are introduced to settings, character and plot development; sentence structure; topic sentences and main ideas; graphic organizers and sequential storytelling; focused writing; and language mechanics. Students are encouraged to follow their own ideas, create their own stories and listen to their inner voice as they write. At this young age, there are few rules imposed during writing time; this allows the students to be creative, enjoy writing and to focus on learning the mechanics of words. These students build a foundation for future writing.
The students will:
- Continually read self-selected titles during their Independent Reading Time.
- Complete personalized weekly word study activities to build fluency, spelling, and vocabulary.
- Use verbalization and visualization skills to build sight word recognition and memory of conventional spellings.
- Keep a sight word book where words in process are filed.
- Participate in whole class focus units.
- Explore a variety of genres through various Read Alouds and class discussions.
- Deconstruct poems and songs introduced during morning meetings.
- Live life as writers by adding to Writing Journals daily.
- Build writing stamina by increasing the amount of text they write in their Writing Journals over the course of the school year.
- Write self-selected topics in Writing Journals.
- Participate in mini-lessons.
- Use previous mini-lessons to guide writing development.
- Publish original writings.