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Writing Continuum

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Literacy Statement

An effective literacy program offers a balance of challenge and support while building children’s confidence in their emerging abilities as readers and writers. Our goal is to develop fluent, capable readers who enjoy the process and learn from it, drawing from a diverse array of literature. Helping students become writers who can express their ideas cogently, clearly, and creatively is another important goal. We view reading and writing as a developmental process and understand that a child’s progress is seldom even or linear. It is common, for example, that a student’s leap ahead in learning is followed by a consolidating phase or an apparent plateau. We also find that students cannot be easily placed in a single category along the learning continuum. As such, our instruction is guided by regular formal and informal writing assessments.

While no two developmental journeys are identical, students often exhibit a range of skills and understandings. The following reading/writing continuum describes the basic path to literacy in the Beginning and Lower Schools.

 

Reading Continuum

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Literacy Statement

An effective literacy program offers a balance of challenge and support while building children’s confidence in their emerging abilities as readers and writers.  Our goal is to develop fluent, capable readers who enjoy the process and learn from it, drawing from a diverse array of literature.  Helping students become writers who can express their ideas cogently, clearly, and creatively is another important goal.  We view reading and writing as a developmental process and understand that a child’s progress is seldom even or linear. It is common, for example, that a student’s leap ahead in learning is followed by a consolidating phase or an apparent plateau. We also find that students cannot be easily placed in a single category along the learning continuum. As such, our instruction is guided by regular formal and informal reading assessments.

While no two developmental journeys are identical, students often exhibit a range of skills and understandings. The following reading/writing continuum describes the basic path to literacy in the Beginning and Lower Schools.

 

Writing Continuum

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Literacy Statement

An effective literacy program offers a balance of challenge and support while building children’s confidence in their emerging abilities as readers and writers.  Our goal is to develop fluent, capable readers who enjoy the process and learn from it, drawing from a diverse array of literature.  Helping students become writers who can express their ideas cogently, clearly, and creatively is another important goal.  We view reading and writing as a developmental process and understand that a child’s progress is seldom even or linear. It is common, for example, that a student’s leap ahead in learning is followed by a consolidating phase or an apparent plateau. We also find that students cannot be easily placed in a single category along the learning continuum. As such, our instruction is guided by regular formal and informal writing assessments.

While no two developmental journeys are identical, students often exhibit a range of skills and understandings. The following reading/writing continuum describes the basic path to literacy in the Beginning and Lower Schools.

Writing 5

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Literacy Philosophy Statement

An effective literacy program offers a balance of challenge and support while building children’s confidence in their emerging abilities as readers and writers.  Our goal is to develop fluent, capable readers who enjoy the process and learn from it, drawing from a diverse array of literature.  Helping students become writers who can express their ideas cogently, clearly, and creatively is another important goal.  We view reading and writing as a developmental process and understand that a child’s progress is seldom even or linear. It is common, for example, that a student’s leap ahead in learning is followed by a consolidating phase or an apparent plateau. We also find that students cannot be easily placed in a single category along the learning continuum.  Rather, students often exhibit a range of skills and understandings.

While no two developmental journeys are identical, the following reading/writing continuum describes the basic path to literacy in the Beginning and Lower Schools.

 

Writing Workshop

Writing workshop emphasizes the importance of student engagement and the interaction between readers and text. It provides differentiated instruction in writing. Writing Workshop focuses on the teaching of writing strategies. The purpose of Writer's Workshop is to foster a love of writing. Students develop an ability to write confidently in many forms for a variety of audiences and purposes.  

In the classroom this looks like a mini lesson devoted to one aspect of writing, followed by guided practice where the teacher works with groups of kids, and time for students to practice the skills independently. 

Specific components of this grade level are described below.

 

Writing 3

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Writer's Workshop

Writer's workshop emphasizes the importance of student engagement and the interaction between readers and text. It provides differentiated instruction in writing. Writer's Workshop focuses on the teaching of writing strategies. The purpose of Writer's Workshop is to foster a love of writing. Students develop an ability to write confidently in many forms for a variety of audiences and purposes. 

In the classroom this looks like a mini lesson devoted to one aspect of writing, followed by guided practice where the teacher works with groups of kids, and time for students to practice the skills independently.

Specific components of this grade level are described below.

Writing Mini-Lessons

The writing mini-lessons provide opportunities to demonstrate specific writing tools, concepts and techniques for the whole class. Examples of writing or modeling of writing may be used for the students to see how writer's make decisions and work towards specific goals or ideas. Different types of writing may be modeled, such as expository, narrative, poetry, etc. or a lesson on a skill such as adding supporting details, using editing marks, using quotation marks, or writing a paragraph. Mini-lessons are intended to be brief (5-10 minutes) and be applicable for all the writers in the classroom. Students then have the opportunity to use the information in their own writing during independent writing time.

Guided Writing

Guided writing goups can be used to help develop a specific area of writing for a small group or writers who are working on the same skill or strategy. Students who would benefit from some additional time working on some aspect of writing would be invited to join a teacher to practice the writing tool or technique they need. Guided writing groups are often short term and the groups are flexible and changing, forming with whatever individuals need the same specific support at a given time.

Independent Writing

Independent writing is the heart of the writing workhshop, and is a time when the students apply what they have learned in the mini-lesson or guided writing group. The students work on self-selected writing topics, or topics related to a specific project. During this time, some students may be working quietly on a draft with headphones to focus their thoughts on their writing, some students may be conferring with partners or a teacher, some may be meeting in a guided reading group, some may be revising an almost finished piece, and some may be preparing a piece for publication. This part of the writing workshop is the longest, as it is the time when the students are practicing their skills as writers.

Writer's Circles

Writer's circles vary in size and purpose. The whole class may meet together for a large writer's circle, or they may be made up of a few students. During these times, the students may be sharing a draft in progress to get feedback and ideas on where to go next with it. At other times, students may be sharing their published pieces with one another and share compliments and specific aspects of the writing they enjoyed.

Writing Conferences

Writing conferences happen during the independent writing time. A student and teacher will meet one-to-one to discuss a work in progress, or look over a piece that's ready to publish. This is an opportunity for the teacher to talk with the student about the writing process, ask questions, and provide feedback, not only about the conventions (spelling, punctuation, etc.) but the elements of writing taught in the mini-lesson such as developing and organizing ideas,story elements, etc. It is also a chance to assess the writer's strengths and develop goals for the next steps in developing as a writer.

Writing 4

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Writer's Workshop

Writer's workshop emphasizes the importance of student engagement and the interaction between readers and text. It provides differentiated instruction in writing. Writer's Workshop focuses on the teaching of writing strategies. The purpose of Writer's Workshop is to foster a love of writing. Students develop an ability to write confidently in many forms for a variety of audiences and purposes. 

In the classroom this looks like a mini lesson devoted to one aspect of writing, followed by guided practice where the teacher works with groups of kids, and time for students to practice the skills independently.

Specific components of this grade level are described below.

Writing Mini-Lessons

The mini-lesson is where we can make a suggestion to the whole class...raise a concern, explore an issue, model a technique, reinforce a strategy. First our students are engaged in their own important work. Mini lessons are developed from here. A mini-lesson generally lasts 5-10 minutes. We try to choose a teaching point that we feel would benefit many members of the class.

Examples of mini lessons might include a content focus such as using descriptive language or writing a powerful lead. When teaching a conventions mini lesson, we might work on capitalization, end marks, or quotation mark usage. Often times, we lead lessons on genre studies integrated with our reading workshop on topics such as biography, poetry, letter writing, or informational text.

Independent Writing 

After the mini lesson, students work in their Writer's Notebook to collect entries that may later become published pieces of writing.  The total writing time lasts for about 35-40 minutes, but during that time some students may be involved in conferences with the teacher or with their peers.

Students choose entries in their notebooks to take into "draft form."  It is these carefully selected pieces of writing that will be taken through the process of editing and revising so that they can be published and shared with others.  All entries in the Writer's Notebook do not become published prices of writing. 

Writing Conferences

While students are involved in independent writing, we use this time to confer with our writers.  We take notes during conferences to document students' progress and to plan future mini-lessons.  During this time we may: listen to students read their entries aloud, help students decide what they want to say, provide feedback, re-teach skills taught during mini lessons, teach necessary new skills, reinforce a writer's strengths, or give writers new ways of thinking.

 Sharing

At the end of writing workshop everyday, students are brought back together for a 5-10 minute group share and reflection. Sometimes a writer might come to sharing session to ask for help or receive feedback from his or her classmates ("I like my story, but I can't think of a good title.") Students share a piece with a partner in revision or editing a piece.  The author might also want to share part of an entry of which he or she is especially proud. The 'Author's Chair' is used when students share published piece.

 

Literacy Philosophy Statement

An effective literacy program offers a balance of challenge and support while building children’s confidence in their emerging abilities as readers and writers.  Our goal is to develop fluent, capable readers who enjoy the process and learn from it, drawing from a diverse array of literature.  Helping students become writers who can express their ideas cogently, clearly, and creatively is another important goal.  We view reading and writing as a developmental process and understand that a child’s progress is seldom even or linear. It is common, for example, that a student’s leap ahead in learning is followed by a consolidating phase or an apparent plateau. We also find that students cannot be easily placed in a single category along the learning continuum.  Rather, students often exhibit a range of skills and understandings.

While no two developmental journeys are identical, the following reading/writing continuum describes the basic path to literacy in the Beginning and Lower Schools.

Writing 1

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Writer's Workshop

Writer's workshop emphasizes the importance of student engagement and the interaction between readers and text. It provides differentiated instruction in writing. Writer's Workshop focuses on the teaching of writing strategies. The purpose of Writer's Workshop is to foster a love of writing. Students develop an ability to write confidently in many forms for a variety of audiences and purposes.  

In the classroom this looks like a mini lesson devoted to one aspect of writing, followed by guided practice where the teacher works with groups of kids, and time for students to practice the skills independently. 

Specific components of this grade level are described below.

Writing Mini-Lessons

During writing minilessons, teacher's highlight a teaching-point regarding writing conventions (punctuation, spelling, spaces between words, etc.) or  writing craft (writing process, story elements, character development, word choice, voice, etc.). They use mentor texts, teacher-written texts, or shared-writing texts to model the teaching point and then give students opportunities to discuss how they can make use of the minilesson within their own writing. Teachers follow-up on writing mini-lessons with "mid-workshop" interruptions in which they highlight student work that exempflies the application of the minilesson.

Word Study

Students work as a whole-group, small-group, and individually on phonemic awareness (hearing sounds in words), sight words, and patterns within words.

Shared Writing

Shared writing is a time when students engage in a small or large group writing experience that is actively guided by the teacher. Shared writing may be focused on any of the mini-lesson topics (please see above).

Independent Writing

During independent writing time, children work on self-selected topics within the given writing unit. For example, during our personal narrative unit one student may be writing a story about her family’s trip to the beach while her neighbor is focusing on a story about his skateboarding adventures. Each day, children apply skills, strategies and concepts learned in the day’s mini-lesson to their independent writing projects, often coaching and drawing upon their writing partners for feedback, assistance and praise.

Writer's Circles

Writer's Circles occur throughout the writing process.  At times, a Writer's Circle may be an opportunity for a student to share a polished piece of writing with an audience.  At other times, students bring pieces of writing that are in process to share with the writing community for the purpose of soliciting feedback and assistance.  Writer's Circles may include the entire class community or they may include a small group of children who are asking for help from or offering help to their fellow writers.

Writing Conferences

Individual writing conferences are a time when students sit one-on-one with teachers to discuss their writing process. Teachers work closely with students to identify personal goals around writing conventions (punctuation, spelling, spaces between words, etc.) and writing craft (writing process, story elements, character development, word choice, voice and application of other concepts learned in minilessons).

 

 

 

 

Writing 2

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Writer's Workshop

Writer's workshop emphasizes the importance of student engagement and the interaction between readers and text. It provides differentiated instruction in writing. Writer's Workshop focuses on the teaching of writing strategies. The purpose of Writer's Workshop is to foster a love of writing. Students develop an ability to write confidently in many forms for a variety of audiences and purposes. 

In the classroom this looks like a mini lesson devoted to one aspect of writing, followed by guided practice where the teacher works with groups of kids, and time for students to practice the skills independently.

Specific components of this grade level are described below.

 

Writing Mini-Lessons

During mini-lessons, the whole class meets and shares mentor texts written in a specific genre in order to tease out strategies and techniques specific to the genre, and work through the writing process to produce their own writing.  Through the study of these mentor texts, we are charting the writing techniques that we notice in the mentor author's work.  This documentation of our thinking guides our writing study.  

 

Shared Writing

Shared writing allows us to co-write a single peice as a small group or whole class.  It shares the responsibility for the pen between teacher and students alike.  We use this to practice specific writing strategies, revision techniques, and editing skills.  This shared responsibility allows us to live the idea that writing is never done, but an ongoing process of improving one's craft.  

 

Independent Writing

In second grade, we have placed an emphasis on students' ability to generate writing from within themselves and from their own experiences.  Students practice developing writing ideas, planning stories, creating drafts, revising, editing, and publishing. As we are encouraging students to concentrate on getting their ideas onto paper, we emphasize the use of “sound-stretching” where students try their best to sound out the spelling of words. Second graders are in the process of learning simple proofreading skills to help them spell unknown words accurately and use capitalization and punctuation correctly. Second graders are able to do specific work on editing such as punctuation, capitalization, spelling, looking at the content of their work and learning how to choose interesting and descriptive words.

 

Peer Conferencing

Peer conferencing is an integral part of the writing process.  Students meet with writing partners to share ideas and feedback on content.  The primary question asked of both the reader and writer in these confernces is, 'Does this peice of writing make sense?'  Students work with one another to practice how to give postive and constructive feedback.  Asking questions is an essential skill for both readers and writers and peer conferencing is a perfect venue in which to practice.  Feedback recieved during peer conferencing facilitates the author's revision.

Writing Conferences

Throughout the writing process, students meet one-on-one with a teacher multiple times.  This pracitce is meant to hone the writer's initial development of ideas, the writing craft, and the revision and editing processes.  Throughout the year we are engaged in publishing the work of student authors after students have gone through the entire wrting process.  Conferences in this form are always a final step before publication.

 

Reading Continuum

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Literacy Statement

An effective literacy program offers a balance of challenge and support while building children’s confidence in their emerging abilities as readers and writers.  Our goal is to develop fluent, capable readers who enjoy the process and learn from it, drawing from a diverse array of literature.  Helping students become writers who can express their ideas cogently, clearly, and creatively is another important goal.  We view reading and writing as a developmental process and understand that a child’s progress is seldom even or linear. It is common, for example, that a student’s leap ahead in learning is followed by a consolidating phase or an apparent plateau. We also find that students cannot be easily placed in a single category along the learning continuum. As such, our instruction is guided by regular formal and informal reading assessments.

While no two developmental journeys are identical, students often exhibit a range of skills and understandings. The following reading/writing continuum describes the basic path to literacy in the Beginning and Lower Schools.
 

Reading 3

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Reader's Workshop

Reader's workshop emphasizes the importance of student engagement and the interaction between readers and text. It provides differentiated instruction in reading. Reader's Workshop focuses on the teaching of reading strategies. The purpose of Reader's Workshop is to foster independence among readers.  

In the classroom this looks like a mini lesson devoted to one aspect of reading, followed by guided practice where the teacher works with groups of kids, and time for students to practice the skills independently.

Specific components of this grade level are described below.

 

Read Aloud

During read alouds in the classroom, a variety of books are chosen, such as chapter books, picture books, non-fiction texts, poetry, etc. One of the primary goals of the read alouds is to provide modeling of fluent and expressive reading while allowing the students to access texts that they are not able to read independently yet. The teacher is able to model thinking and comprehension strategies while the students are able to contribute their thinking about the text and practice reading comprehension strategies. Read aloud texts are selected for particular purposes and are often used to elicit responses and encourage discussions. Sometimes they are just to enjoy a good book.

 

Shared Reading

Shared reading in third grade is not used very often. When it is, it is used as a tool to practice reading fluency. Partners might share a poem for two voices, or a small group may share a text for a reader's theater activity in which the students take on character roles and practice reading with fluency and expression.

 

Guided Reading 

Guided reading brings together a small group of students who are similar enough in their reading development that they can be taught together for a period of time. A particular text is selected that provides opportunities for them to expand their processing powers. Students will work on reading comprehension strategies as well as working with words (e.g., contractions, syllables, proper nouns, etc.). Short texts are often chosen to provide multiple text experiences, and longer chapter books that relate to social studies content may also be used to integrate different aspects of the curriculum.

 

Independent Reading

Independent reading time is an opportunity for students to develop and practice habits of effective readers. Students learn to exercise choice as readers and develop favorite books, types of books, genres, topics and authors. Students also create a habit of spending a significant amount of time reading. Students are given time in class to read independently and are expected to read at home on a daily basis. Students are learning to choose books that are “just right,” meaning they are at an independent reading level and are of interest to the reader. Students may be introduced to books by book talks given by the teacher, learn about books shared by other students, and may have books assigned to them by the teacher to help them expand their reading experiences. During independent reading time, the teacher is available to confer with individuals or teach small reading groups.

 

Literature Circles

Literature circles are an opportunity for students to share their thinking about a book. Discussions may occur during guided reading sessions, or may be connected with independent reading activities. Read alouds are an opportunity to develop reading discussion skills with the whole class so the students can implement them during small group literature circles. During discussions, students develop their own thinking about books while sharing and listening to others’ thinking. Students are often asked to read with something in mind, such as to think about questions they would like to ask, or to look for particular features of an author’s writing or elements of literature. Students develop proficiency with thinking deeper about the understanding of the text, and thinking beyond the text itself. They search for evidence within the text to back up their ideas and answers. Discussions are a rich opportunity to learn more about books from many different perspectives.

 

Reading Conferences

Individual reading conferences take place during independent work. The teacher is able to make check in on some aspect of the independent work which is typically based on a mini-lesson that was presented on a given reading concept, skill or strategy. During a reading conference, the teacher will listen to the student read orally and have a brief conversation about the book. At the beginning of the year, conferences will include an assessment to determine independent and instructional reading levels for guided reading groups and for helping students select books to read independently. Reading conferences allow the teacher to gain information about the student’s understanding and fluency which is then able to inform instruction.

 

 

 

 

Reading 4

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Reader's Workshop

Reader's workshop emphasizes the importance of student engagement and the interaction between readers and text. It provides differentiated instruction in reading. Reader's Workshop focuses on the teaching of reading strategies. The purpose of Reader's Workshop is to foster independence among readers.  

In the classroom this looks like a mini lesson devoted to one aspect of reading, followed by guided practice where the teacher works with groups of kids, and time for students to practice the skills independently. 

Specific components of this grade level are described below.

 

Read Aloud

Here, the teacher reads both picture books and chapter books to the children daily. Text may be above their instructional reading levels and their independent reading levels. Text may also be thematically linked to our content or current events. This provides a rich context in which children can experience more complex language and stories. Sometimes we will be reading great literature and other times we might introduce a series that eventually children will be able to read on their own. These books are often a stimulus for writing as well. Great literature and storytelling influences fourth graders very positively; just like it does for you and me.

Partner Reading

Peers will read the same book, aloud or silently, while applying structured reading strategies demonstrating to one another how to read and think about a book. Readers hear the language of stories, creating a warm and positive, mutually supportive atmosphere. Children learn fluency at the same time that they are learning to love books and poetry.

Guided Reading

In guided reading groups, the teacher provides support so that children can read books with a small amount of challenge. Books are considered to be at an instructional level in guided reading group if a child can successfully and independently read at least 90% of the words. Children will be working in small groups with the teacher. We place children in flexible groups according to their ability and personal interests. Groups may change throughout the year depending on the needs of the students. The children in each group are guided through a reading selection together as a group and then independently. Children will be involved in vocabulary enrichment, predicting, open-ended questioning, visualizing, summarizing, and making connections within the text. Students practice the strategies they will need in order to become comprehensive readers. The goals for each child will change as his/her reading level changes. 

Independent Reading

Lastly we will provide time for children to read independently and will guide them to select “Just Right” books across genres. This is typically a years-long process of working with children to make choices of books that are just right for them. We teach the children that this means that the text is not too hard that it causes frustration and not too easy that it presents zero challenge, but rather right in the middle (think "Matilda" and "Trumpet of the Swan"). “Just Right” books give the right balance of confidence and practice to promote the continuation of one’s desire to read along with acquiring the necessary skills and vocabulary to move forward in this pursuit.

Literature Circles

 Our Literature Circles are discussion groups in which children meet regularly to talk about books. Groups are determined by book choices which are genre or theme based.  They are heterogeneous and include a range of interests and abilities. Students take on roles in the group; they may pick a favorite passage to share, raise questions for the group, find new vocabulary, talk about literary elements, etc. A whole class may read one book in common, or groups of students may read different titles connected by a theme, genre, or author.  Our goal is to help students gain a deeper understanding of how to think and talk deeply about books. 

Reading Conferences

 

 

 

 

 

Reading 5

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Literacy Philosophy Statement

An effective literacy program offers a balance of challenge and support while building children’s confidence in their emerging abilities as readers and writers.  Our goal is to develop fluent, capable readers who enjoy the process and learn from it, drawing from a diverse array of literature.  Helping students become writers who can express their ideas cogently, clearly, and creatively is another important goal.  We view reading and writing as a developmental process and understand that a child’s progress is seldom even or linear. It is common, for example, that a student’s leap ahead in learning is followed by a consolidating phase or an apparent plateau. We also find that students cannot be easily placed in a single category along the learning continuum.  Rather, students often exhibit a range of skills and understandings.

While no two developmental journeys are identical, the following reading/writing continuum describes the basic path to literacy in the Beginning and Lower Schools.

 

Reading Workshop

Reading workshop emphasizes the importance of student engagement and the interaction between readers and text. It provides differentiated instruction in reading. Reading workshop focuses on the teaching of reading strategies. The purpose of Reading workshop is to foster independence among readers.  

In the classroom this looks like a mini lesson devoted to one aspect of reading, followed by guided practice where the teacher works with groups of kids, and time for students to practice the skills independently. 

 

 

Reading 1

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Reader's Workshop

Reader's workshop emphasizes the importance of student engagement and the interaction between readers and text. It provides differentiated instruction in reading. Reader's Workshop focuses on the teaching of reading strategies. The purpose of Reader's Workshop is to foster independence among readers.  

In the classroom this looks like a mini lesson devoted to one aspect of reading, followed by guided practice where the teacher works with groups of kids, and time for students to practice the skills independently. 

Specific components of this grade level are described below.

Read Aloud

Here, the teacher reads picture books and chapter books to the children that may be above their instructional reading levels and their independent reading level. This provides a rich context in which children can experience more complex language and stories. Sometimes we will be reading great literature and other times we might introduce a series that eventually children will be able to read on their own. These books are often a stimulus for writing as well. Great literature influences first graders very positively; just like it does for you and me. 

Shared Reading

Teachers will read picture books and big books aloud with the children while structuring discussions and demonstrations on how to read and think about a book. Here, the teacher often points to each word and frequently children are encouraged to join in. They hear the language of stories during which we create a warm and positive atmosphere. Children learn to recognize words at the same time they are learning to love books and poetry.   

Guided Reading

In guided reading groups, the teacher provides support so that children can read books with a small amount of challenge. Books are considered to be at an instructional level in guided reading group if a child can successfully and independently read at least 90% of the words. Children will be working in small groups with the teacher. We place children in flexible groups according to their ability and personal interests. Groups may change throughout the year depending on the needs of the students. The children in each group are guided through a reading selection together as a group and then independently. Children will be involved in word study and learn and practice the strategies they will need in order to become independent readers. The goals for each child will change as his/her reading level changes. 

Independent Reading

We provide time for children to read independently and will guide them to select “Just Right” books. This is typically a years-long process of working with children to make choices of books that are just right for them. We teach the children that this means that the text is not too hard that it causes frustration and not too easy that it presents zero challenge, but rather right in the middle (think Goldilocks!). “Just Right” books give the right balance of confidence and practice to promote the continuation of one’s desire to read along with acquiring the necessary skills and vocabulary to move forward in this pursuit.

Reading Conferences

Individual reading conferences are a time when students sit one-on-one with teachers to discuss their "just right" book choices, reading preferences and reading habits. It is also an opportunity for both formal and informal assessment of students reading levels with regard to both decoding (figuring the words out) and comprehension (understanding).

 

 

 

 

Reading 2

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Reader's Workshop

Reader's workshop emphasizes the importance of student engagement and the interaction between readers and text. It provides differentiated instruction in reading. Reader's Workshop focuses on the teaching of reading strategies. The purpose of Reader's Workshop is to foster independence among readers.  

In the classroom this looks like a mini lesson devoted to one aspect of reading, followed by guided practice where the teacher works with groups of kids, and time for students to practice the skills independently. 

Specific components of this grade level are described below.

 

Read Aloud

Second grade is an exciting year of school because the children are at a point where they can bring together all of their reading skills from first grade. Children no longer have to put all of their energy into learning to read words (decoding), instead they are able to concentrate on meaning making. As children are reading more complex texts we put an emphasis on “Reading is Thinking.” Children learn how to capitalize on thinking strategies to improve their reading comprehension.  We use read-alouds as a way to practice the following thinking strategies: Making Connections, Questioning, Visualizing and Using Sensory Images, Inferring, Determining Importance, and Synthesizing.

Shared Reading

Shared reading happens occasionally in second grade wherein the reading practice and responsibility is shared between the teacher and students.  We use this as a time to practice and model reading fluency skills including pace, phrasing, and intonation.  This allows for the rereading of familiar texts to promote the connection between reading fluency and reading comprehension.

Guided Reading

Guided reading groups are small groups formed around commonalities amongst various student needs and readiness. Guided reading groups are less than 6 students at a time meeting with a teacher for direct instruction.  This process allows for a high degree differentiation and individualized instruction on the growing of decoding and comprehension strategies.  Throughout the year the groups are flexibly formed and will inevitably changed depending on growth and development as well as the teaching point required by the unit at hand.

Independent Reading

Independent reading is crucial to the practice of comprehension strategies.  SInce the mental energy is beginning to shift from decoding to comprehension strategies, the children are able to sustain reading of longer texts for up to 20-30 minutes at a stretch.  Students are always working on tracking their thinking while reading a Just Right Book.  Books are sometimes selected by a teacher but are often chosen independently by the students.  This is also an opportunity for students to practice comprehension strategies by responding to their reading in writing.  Children are often engaged in independent reading while teachers are meeting with other Guided Reading groups fostering self-direction. 

Reading Conferences

In this practice, students are meeting with a teacher one-on-one with their independent reading books.  This is an opportunity for highly individualized instruction and assessment of a student's progress.  This is a rich opportunity to discuss metacognition strategies and the language of thinking about one's thinking.  During this time students work to improve their metacognition skills by learning how to make their thinking visible (through reading responses), identifying when meaning is breaking down, and honing their ability to select a strategy to fix-up the break down in meaning. Students will become more reflective readers as they work to ensure they are reading across a variety of genres and improve their ability to set literacy goals.