The language arts program develops competent readers who appreciate literature, effective writers who express themselves confidently and creatively, and compelling public speakers who are engaging and informative.
Language arts skills are taught in every grade daily and are designed to spiral developmentally each year. Kindergarten through third grade classes have adopted the Wonders curriculum through which students learn to read using a modified whole language approach with a strong emphasis on phonics. Students are offered enrichment and remedial activities - according to their individual needs - to supplement the curriculum. Fourth and fifth grades use the Fountas and Pinnell Classroom curriculum, a comprehensive, systematic approach for high-impact literacy instruction, offering insightful assessment and effective interventional, which has allowed us to redefine and elevate literacy teaching and learning. Sixth through eighth grades implement the innovative Reading and Units of Study from Teachers College. This research-informed approach follows the workshop and partner book model, dramatically increasing the number and diversity of books read by each student, each year. From fourth grade through eighth grade, literary content and critical understanding are emphasized by exploring literature in its various forms: poetry, short story, novel, fiction, and nonfiction.
The writing program is structured around a recursive sequence of brainstorming, thinking and planning, rough drafting, revision, proofreading, and final composition. Our goal is to foster and encourage focused and clear thought and to convey it through concise, effective and vivid prose and speech. Writing curriculum in Kindergarten through third grade is part of the Wonders language arts program; fourth through eighth grade classes employ the Teachers College Writing Units of Study, each of which includes a focus on narrative, opinion, and informational writing as well as writing about reading.
Overall, the language arts program strives to create balance among reading, grammar, writing, spelling, and vocabulary and is closely integrated with all subject areas at all the levels in the school, which helps bring the close relationship among disciplines more sharply into focus.