Our English Language Arts curriculum Reading and writers’ workshops are presented within the New York State curriculum guidelines. Read-aloud, accountable talk and analysis of stories are some of the components stressed within the literary program.
Throughout their grade 6-8 years, students read short stories, poetry, novels and classic works of literature as well as the works of modern writers. Creative writing projects include poetry, fiction, feature articles, comic books, persuasive essays, informational research and literary analysis.
MS 53 uses the Fountas and Pinnell Leveled Book system to match books to readers. Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell are two Reading Recovery-trained experts who developed a tool creating a gradient of text, from easiest to most challenging, using levels A to Z. Our teachers assess students to see what their independent reading level is (this is a comfortable level, where students do not have to do much work as a reader in order to get a lot of meaning from the text), and also students’ instructional reading level for their work with the classroom teacher (this is a more difficult level where the demands of the text require teacher guidance and instruction). We also use diagnostic tools like MAP and Gates-McGinnitie to assess reading levels.
We also use the CoreReady LitLife curriculum in our classes . LitLife ensures joyful student learning while dramatically increasing literacy proficiency through interactive professional development, culturally responsive curriculum, and strategic organizational planning.
Core Ready, written by LitLife founder Pam Allyn, is a flexible, integrative approach to reading, writing, speaking, and listening that encompasses best practices for the teaching of literacy.
LitLife: Shaping Lives of Purpose and Joy Through Literacy
The approach is crystallized around “Four Doors” of literacy learning. These are our 4 units of study:
▶ The Road to Knowledge: Information and Research
This Door to the Core—The Road to Knowledge—encompasses research and information and the skills and strategies students need to build strong content knowledge and compose informational text as suggested by the Common Core State Standards.
▶ The Power to Persuade: Opinion and Argument
This Door to the Core—The Power to Persuade—encompasses instruction that explores the purposes, techniques, and strategies to become effective readers and writers of various types of opinion text as delineated in the Common Core State Standards.
▶ The Shape of Story: Yesterday and Today
This Door to the Core—The Shape of Story—encompasses exploration of a variety of genres with the corresponding craft, structures, and strategies one needs to be a successful consumer and producer of literary text as required by the Common Core State Standards.
▶ The Journey to Meaning: Comprehension and Critique
This Door to the Core—The Journey to Meaning—encompasses the strategies and skills our students need to comprehend, critique, and compose literary text as outlined in the Common Core State Standards