The ABC Stewart Elementary School Reading Program is comprised of many different components to ensure each student experiences a complete literature/language arts curriculum.
- Literature Units- Children are exposed to full length award-winning literature in which they respond in writing to questions and engage in vocabulary interaction. The focus of the program is to gain appreciation and understanding of great writing, while becoming better readers and writers. It is in this program that students master comprehension and analysis of grade-level appropriate text. Children learn to summarize chapters, respond to thought-provoking questions, and to recognize major aspects of literature. In these literature units students produce literary responses and analysis through both written expression and verbal discussion among peers and facilitated by educators. Most children are reading books with a high reading ability level. We do use some shorter works to highlight specific skill areas, such as word recognition, fluency, vocabulary development and phonemic awareness, but the majority of our reading relies on major works. The children leave our program ready to tackle any assignment they may encounter in junior high with confidence and the ability to succeed. Most assignments are given on a one-week basis.
- Spelling- In the Reading Room, children gain ability in spelling with three approaches. First, the students use a weekly spelling book which introduces groups of words with phonetics lessons. Students learn to spell commonly used words, contractions, compound words, common homophones, as well as common spelling patterns by engaging in different spelling activities as presented in the spelling book, as well as through classroom work. Second, students correct written work that is turned in with incorrect spelling. Students also practice Spelling during Independent Study activities. Spelling test is given on Thursdays. Students should complete lesson and all prior corrections.
- Wordly Wise- Children work on level with a vocabulary building program called Wordly Wise. It is in this program that the students engage most in vocabulary and concept development. Students determine the meanings of words using the knowledge of prefixes and suffixes, context clues, and by using dictionary and glossary skills. In most schools this program is offered only to advanced placement students. In our school, all students benefit by working in this program. Wordly Wise operates on a two week basis; one week a lesson is due and the next a quiz is given. We are doing the story this year.
- Independent Study- This is the heart of our classroom and out students’ favorite experience. The shelves of the Reading Room are full of activities for the children to work with during class. Skills offered are varied and include prefix/suffix, vocabulary, grammar, summarizing, synonym/antonym, regular and irregular plurals, sentence structure, punctuation, classification, outlining, creative writing, etc. Some of the activities are designed for groups or partners, and some are completed independently. The students have many choices on what they work on within clearly defined guidelines and expectations. Progress is closely observed, monitored and recorded by teachers.
- Book Reports- Students read award-winning books from all genres. Students are given options on ways to present their report, and creativity is a necessary ingredient! The book report allows students to analyze grade-level-appropriate text. Students restate facts and details in the text to clarify and organize ideas. During the book report presentation students apply organization and delivery of oral communication by engaging the audience through the use of voice and visual aide. Students will be assigned book report #1 at the end of September.
- Spanish- All students learn basic Spanish in their years at Stewart. The students learn and practice basic vocabulary including conjugation of verbs. The students write and sing songs in Spanish. They also experience the music and culture of different countries through classroom activities. Once again, the students also learn by doing independent study activities.
- Listening Skills- Homeroom students specifically participate in a program that teaches and practices this valuable skill. Students learn to follow directions, distinguish between the speaker’s opinions and verifiable facts, as well as answer questions completely and appropriately.
- D.O.L.- Each homeroom student plays a part in Daily Oral Language. Students work to correct sentences which reflect the way people sometimes incorrectly speak orally. Students correct sentence structure, punctuation and capitalization, as well as correct verb tenses, and modifiers. Homeroom students also correctly identify and label parts of speech.
- Sunrise Idea- Children begin the week by copying an inspirational idea. We discuss the idea in class and reflect back to it throughout the duration of the week. Sunrise idea is also used to perfect handwriting skills. Students are encouraged to write in cursive handwriting in which they practice writing smoothly and legibly in cursive, forming letters and words that can be read by others.
- Poetry- Poetry is experienced each day during our Circle Time by a student presenting a poem from memory. From Shel Silverstein to Carl Sandburg, children hear a new poem each day. In homeroom, our younger students enjoy creative writing through poetry that is editing and published in class. Poems will be sent home in the planner the week before presentation.
- Creative Writing- Each week students are given the opportunity to engage in creative writing. Our creative writing approach models similar writing workshops in which students take an original piece of writing through the writing process (brainstorm, rough draft, self-edit, peer-edit, teacher-edit, revise, publish, share). With this writing technique students are able to discuss ideas for writing, select a focus, an organizational structure, audience, length and format for writing. Students also are exposed to proofreading one’s own writing as well as that of others in order to review, evaluate and revise writing for meaning and clarity.
- Assessment- While ABC Stewart Elementary’s assessment focuses on completion and corrections, rather than letter grade equivalents, there are both formal and informal assessment pieces that take place in the Reading Room. The Reading Room uses long range assessment and focus on growth through the use of student portfolios, as well as a compilation of students’ written work. Ongoing assessment occurs daily through teacher observation and written records. More formal assessments, such as written tests and quizzes occur periodically throughout the year and are compiled with prior informal assessments in order to monitor students’ progress through the reading program.