•  READING AND WRITING PHILOSOPHY  

     

    Reading is a complex process through which readers actively construct meaning and connect with others’ ideas.  The reading process requires readers to relate prior knowledge and personal experiences to written texts; respond to texts in aesthetic and critical ways; recognize and appreciate print as a cuing system for meaning; and understand words, their variations, and their contexts.  Students should recognize that what they hear, speak, write, and view contributes to the content quality of their reading experiences.

    Proficient readers use a repertoire of strategies (including phonics, context clues, and foreshadowing) that enable them to adapt to increasing levels of complexity, and develop lifelong habits of reading and thinking.  A diversity of materials provides students with opportunities to grow intellectually, socially, and emotionally as they consider universal themes, diverse cultures and perspectives, and the common aspects of human existence.  The study of literature allows students to return to the materials and reconstruct meaning as they examine their own reading along with the writer’s shaping of text and the cultural, historical, and psychological contexts for composing.

    Writing is a complex process that may be used for self or other communication, expression, and learning.  Proficient writers have a repertoire of strategies that enable them to vary forms, style, and convention in order to write for different audiences, context, and purposes.  The overall goal of our writing program is to prepare students to respond to any on-demand kind of writing an employer, an institution of higher learning or real-life experience requires of them.

    Writing activities include opportunities for students to think about their ideas and feelings and the events and people in their lives.  Through writing, students are able to describe experiences in the lives of others. Students taught to understand the recursive nature and shifting perspectives of the writing process, and are encouraged to take risks, collaborate, and reflect as they compose increasingly complex texts.  Students are taught strategies that will assist them in writing clearly and in crafting their texts with appropriate conventions of spelling, grammar, and punctuation as they revise, edit, and publish. They learn to examine their writing not only as a product, but as a mode of thinking. They recognize that what they hear, speak, read, and view contributes to the content and quality of their writing.  Writers need to be able to complete projects for a variety of purposes.

     

    We strongly believe in fostering the love of reading and writing at Bruno M. Ponterio Ridge Street School.  We want our children:

    • To be exposed to various genres in both reading and writing.

    • To develop an understanding of the interconnectedness of reading, writing and speaking.

    • To increase fluency, expand vocabulary and develop comprehension strategies.

    • To move from “learning to read" to "reading to learn.”

    • To apply strategies and access skills to be successful readers and writers.

    • To write for a variety of purposes and audiences.

    • To participate in discussions that bring books alive! 

     
    Our teachers have the opportunity to work with literacy consultants to look at long term goals and short term goals, organize and plan grade level curriculum, and strengthen best practices, and keep up-to-date with current research.  They also plan as a team in order to ensure consistency throughout the grade level.
     
    We follow a Balanced Literacy Approach to Reading and Writing.  Balanced Literacy incorporates all reading approaches realizing students need to use multiple strategies to become proficient readers and writers.  It provides and cultivates the skills of reading, writing, thinking, speaking and listening for all students.  It includes teaching phonics, grammar skills, reading and comprehension strategies, and writing forms and skills.
     
    Balanced Literacy is implemented through the Reading and Writing Workshop Model. The teacher begins by modeling the reading/writing strategy that is the focus of the workshop during a mini-lesson. Then, students read or write for an extended period of time as the teacher circulates amongst them to observe, record observations and confer. At the culmination of the workshop session, selected students share their strategies and work with the class. 
     
    Our Balanced Literacy Program includes these components:
    • Read Aloud

     

    This is where the teacher reads out loud to the classroom. The teacher can model correct strategies and behaviors. They read with enthusiasm, rhythm, and the proper intonation. This way students can experience the joys of reading long before they can read on their own. 
    • Shared Reading 

     

    This is when the students and teacher read together. This is an opportunity for students to discover new words and their meanings. 
    • Guided Reading

     

    This is when teachers are able to work with students who are on the same level. Students are put into small groups, given their own book, and the teacher works with each student to help develop the skills they need.  This is the area in which reading is differentiated in our classroom according to each child's individual reading level.
    • Independent Reading

     

    This is when students are allowed to choose the books they want to read. This is important for many reasons — one being that reading becomes a more enjoyable experience. Also, when students realize teachers value reading time, they begin to realize that reading must be an important skill.  It is always helpful for you to model for your children and finding time for everyone in your home to read is essential to a successful school-home literacy life.
     
    • Book Talks

     

    This is when students work in groups to talk about the books they have read.  They are given the opportunity to share their opinions about characters using evidence from the text, evaluate solutions that are presented in the text and see how characters evolve, identify theme and main idea and supporting it with details, and much, much more.  Students share out in many ways including class presentations, debates, plays, and other project-based activities.
    • Word Study

     

    Students work with words through fun and engaging activities. Students learn letters and the sounds they make. They then move on to root words, suffixes and prefixes, and how to derive meaning of words.  
     
    Our students in grades K-3 participate in our Wilson Fundations Program.  It is a supplemental phonics/spelling program delivered to all students in 25-30 minute daily lessons.  Wilson Fundations is used with our existing literature-based reading instruction to provide a comprehensive language arts program.  The program addresses each of the five essential components for reading (phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.)  It explicitly and systematically teaches students how to fluently and accurately decode and spell.  Unlike traditional phonics programs, Wilson instruction is very interactive and multi-sensory.
     
    • Writing Workshop
     
     
    This is when students are explicitly taught skills and strategies for writing. Then they go off and write independently while incorporating the skills they are trying out that day. The teacher comes around and confers with students to help them with their goals.
     
    ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS - WILSON READING PROGRAMS
     

    The Wilson Reading System explicitly and systematically teaches students how to fluently and accurately decode and spell.  Unlike traditional phonics programs, Wilson instruction is very interactive and multisensory.

    Wilson Fundations is implemented in Grades K-3.  It is a supplemental phonics/spelling program delivered to all students in 25-30 minute daily lessons.  Wilson Fundations is used with our existing literature-based reading instruction to provide a comprehensive language arts program.  The program addresses each of the five essential components for reading (phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.)