In English Language Arts, grammar and writing skills will be studied in what is called “Writing Workshop,” and reading skills and word work will be studied in “Reading Workshop.”
Writing Skills: Broadly described, we will examine writing as a process, writing as a product, mechanics and spelling, and writing forms for audience and purpose.
To develop their craft, all students keep a “Writer’s Notebook,” where they:
- take class notes
- respond to writing prompts,
- draft frequently and within assigned and chosen topics
- and practice particular writing skills.
Grammar Skills: Grammar skills will be taught on a weekly basis centering on a skill that is essential to success within the genre of writing that we are studying and practicing.
Some of what we will examine is: various sentence types, paragraph and sentence structures, correct use of punctuation such as quotation marks and commas, parts of speech, verb agreement and how to write in dialogue.
CLICK HERE FOR A BREAK DOWN OF THE PERIOD
CLICK HERE FOR AN EXPLANATION OF WRITER’S WORKSHOP ELEMENTS
Reading Skills: Students learn to think within the text, beyond the text, and about the text as they study a variety of genres including, but not limited to, fiction, non-fiction, short stories, poetry, plays, and essays.
Reading strategies are developed through studying whole-class mentor texts, guided reading groups, and through independent reading which is encouraged through The Accelerated Reader Program. The whole-class’ assigned text serves as the “mentor” text to teach specific reading strategies and skills such as solving words, monitoring and correcting, summarizing, predicting, making connections, inferring, analyzing, or critiquing.
In addition to the mentor text, students will be placed in guided reading groups which will supplement the mentor text and allow students to practice and apply their skills. For instance, in one given class there may be 2-4 guided reading groups taking place at one time. Students are placed in a specific Guided reading group based upon their guided reading level and are able to work with a text that is tailored to their needs. Within these guided reading groups, students are practicing the same reading strategies and reinforcing the same skills learned through their mentor text, but with books that may be more or less challenging than the whole-class mentor text. This allows for teachers to more easily differentiate their reading strategies instruction and work within individual reading groups to guide students in acquiring the reading strategies necessary to become effective and active readers.
(For a more detailed description on the Reading workshop please check page 5-6 of the St. Philip’s Academy Curriculum Guide.)
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Each of these workshops will meet for approximately 45-90 minute blocks, four times per week. The Reading and Writing Workshop model is a teaching technique that has been adapted from Teachers College at Columbia University and is strongly guided by Gay Su Pinnell and Irene C. Fountas’s work The Continuum of Literacy Learning: Grades PreK-8.