The K-5 English Language Arts program is designed to foster a love of reading and to develop skills that are essential for students to become effective, lifelong readers and writers. Our balanced-literacy program provides opportunities for learning experiences in listening and speaking, phonemic awareness, phonics, word identification, word analysis, vocabulary development, fluency, and comprehension strategies. As students read a variety of selections, they learn appropriate strategies to optimize their comprehension. These strategies include previewing and predicting, confirming predictions, using prior or background knowledge, self-questioning, adjusting reading rate, using typographic clues, visualizing, rereading, and using text features and illustrations to facilitate comprehension. As a result of students’ focus on comprehension, students develop into readers who learn how to relate the text to themselves, the world, and other texts. They learn to be critical and active readers who know that reading equates with getting meaning from text.
The importance of students developing good habits for reading is emphasized in this program. Following a mini-lesson modeled by the teacher to focus students’ attention to a specific text aspect or strategy, students are offered multiple opportunities for practice and application. This is accomplished through independent and partner reading, usage of graphic-organizers, and retellings. Group discussions are used to explore students’ understanding of textual content and ideas. Written responses also provide and encourage student self-reflections and meta-cognition.
The main purpose of word study is to examine words in order to reveal consistencies within our written language system and to help students master the recognition, spelling, and meaning of specific words. Becoming fully literate is absolutely dependent on fast, accurate recognition of words and their meanings in texts, and fast, accurate production of words in writing so that readers and writers can focus their attention on making meaning.
The English Language Arts K-5 curriculum is aligned with the New Jersey Student Learning Standards.