The Writing Club
Good writing is the ability to distill one’s thought into meaningful, clear and coherent sentences that captivate the reader and compel him to continue reading.
The Early Elementary Writing Curriculum addresses four critical pieces of the writing process:
We encourage young writers to think carefully about what they plan to write before they take pen to paper. This may include brainstorming, Venn diagrams, a five-senses chart, synonym webs, and other idea generating activities.
Children will use outlines to lay out their ideas in a thoughtful and organized schematic. Head Teachers will show young writers how to formulate topic sentences, utilize relevant supporting information in body paragraphs, and seamlessly transition between ideas. For emerging readers, written assignments will focus on concrete topics, such as a persuasive essay on a hobby or interest or a simple retell of a storyline. Developed readers will be asked to consider more abstract topics in their writing, such as character development, plot trajectory and theme.
After brainstorming and outlining, students will learn how to use their outlines as the basis for a piece of written work. Students will understand the utility of outlining as they experience the ease and simplicity that comes from using a “road map” during the writing process.
Once students are done writing, Head Teachers will ask them to "stretch.” Sample editing prompts may include: Can you use a juicier or more interesting word to describe your topic? How can you grab or hook your reader? How do the words and images you chose to include in your writing make the reader feel? The editing process will encourage young writers to improve and reenvision their existing work by making revisions to sentence structure, organization and word choice rather than simply correcting mechanical errors.
The Reading Club
The elementary years, a time of exponential growth in phonemic awareness and comprehension, play a pivotal role in the development of one’s autonomy and competency as a reader .
Early Elementary students vary widely in their adeptness with text. Given this, our Early Elementary Reading Program offers several different options to meet the needs of a diverse set of learners.
For emerging readers...
For emerging readers, selected texts will be accessible in terms of vocabulary, length and sentence structure, but will still offer enough complexity to foster thoughtful discussion. Key skills addressed will be sequencing, retaining relevant information, summarizing plot events, analyzing passages, and adopting strategies for tackling challenging vocabulary. The goal of this program is to give emerging readers the skills and confidence they need to widen the range of texts accessible to them. Additionally, it is to engender a true love of literature in students that currently struggle to make meaning when reading due to issues with automaticity and comprehension.
For developed and advanced readers...
Developed and advanced readers will be asked to perform close readings of challenge texts. Head Teachers will help support understanding of these texts and encourage discussion and deep thinking. Students will be exposed to many different types of texts, including fiction, non-fiction, memoir, biography, and print media. Reading for information as well as meaning, summarizing and retelling, and identifying key themes will be hallmarks of the curriculum. Students should emerge with a wider understanding of different types of literature as well as with a keener eye for pinpointing the big idea in texts. Readings will be tailored to a student’s interests with the goal of stimulating a child’s natural curiosity and increasing engagement level.
Focus on Phonics
Phonics are the foundation upon which one of life’s most fundamental academic capabilities is built.
Emerging, developed and advanced readers all still benefit from phonics instruction. For emerging readers, phonics will continue to be a primary focus, alongside higher order thinking skills. After an assessment, phonics gaps will be addressed and the appropriate point in the phonics sequence will become the starting point for new concepts. For developed and advanced readers, advanced phonetic concepts, such as morphology, will be taught both in and out of context. The phonics curriculum will be used as a springboard into vocabulary enrichment and will provide students with the tools they need to decode complex or unfamiliar words they encounter while reading.