Being a confident reader and writer is the cornerstone of students’ becoming lifelong learners. Your child’s road to this sense of confidence is supported throughout their elementary experiences by a wide host of literacy learning opportunities delivered both within their classrooms as well as in small reading groups. Complementing the language lessons delivered in the classroom, each child also participates in small group literacy instruction facilitated by one of the reading specialists. These groups provide reading opportunities for students in four primary areas: comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, and word study. Students are instructed in the skills and strategies needed in each of these areas in order to read effectively and meaningfully. Critical thinking and problem-solving are the paramount goals of these classes. The development of these key areas is supported by providing the necessary underpinnings to help students successfully read and process text. Seven thinking strategies are incorporated into lessons (Monitoring Understanding, Making Connections, Visualizing, Questioning, Identifying Important Ideas, Making Inferences, and Synthesizing) in which students discover how these ideas support understanding the message of texts they are reading. Students are encouraged to “think about their thinking” and actively interact with ideas about how their brains process information. They demonstrate their understanding of text through experiences such as writing, art, drama, cooking, and technology. In order to support the primary goal of understanding the messages being communicated through text, students also experience instruction in how our language works and what we need to know in order to read fluently. This instruction encompasses lessons on the structure of our language, how to decode words accurately and automatically, and the development of an expansive sight word vocabulary. In addition, students are exposed to a wide array of vocabulary and how to decipher the multi-layers of meaning in our language. Fluency is also an area that is developed as ease in decoding and reading with phrasing and proper inflection are good indicators of comprehension.
During Writers’ Workshop, students learn ways in which to communicate ideas and the power of words to express opinions, entertain with poetry, explain research, share small moments, and create fictional stories. Students apply the knowledge they have gained through their language lessons as well as learning about the importance of having their own voice and style in writing.
Literacy learning is of paramount importance at Gladwyne Montessori and high priority is given to students experiencing literacy learning throughout the day. Teachers, assistants, and reading specialists work together to provide rich and meaningful opportunities for students to apply their literacy knowledge across content areas. Over time, through these comprehensive reading and writing experiences, cognitive pathways are paved to ensure students’ ownership of their own unique literacy journey.