Early Elementary Program
Language Group provides children with opportunities to explore a variety of language arts skills, such as letter recognition, vowel spelling rules, root words, or grammar conventions. Teachers introduce these skills to a small group of children that are working at a similar skill level. Games are often used to integrate visual, auditory, verbal and kinesthetic modes of learning.
1-2 & 3-4 Program
Language groups are designed to practice reading, writing, spelling and oral communication in concert with one another. After careful assessment of each student’s language strengths and goals, teachers create and work with groups of 5-9 children on directed lessons tailored to the group’s needs and learning styles. Small groups allow for in depth and ongoing assessment that is used both to design subsequent activities and to create new groupings as children progress. The skills practiced in language groups are reinforced when students work with teachers in the classroom.
To support writing and spelling development, activities such as word sorts, card games, and vocabulary games are tailored to the group’s level and designed to actively engage students in word study. Included are activities for practice as well as for review of skills. This approach is multi-sensory, offering students a variety of learning strategies. For example, students write, say, and hear the spelling patterns, in order to solidify understanding. Teachers may use this spelling practice time to check letter formation and to give extra handwriting practice. It is also an opportunity to teach and review grammar and punctuation rules.
When appropriate, students generate spelling lists that focus on specific spelling patterns, spelling rules and generalizations, and irregular sight words. Included are “personal words”-words selected by the child from journal-writing and Writer’s Workshop projects.
To support reading development, teachers select a piece of children’s literature and teach a lesson that reinforces particular skills including oral fluency, reading expression, vocabulary, word-attack skills and comprehension strategies. Students practice both reading aloud and silently during this time. When a group’s focus is on developing comprehension, guided discussions provide students with the opportunity to understand texts at a deeper level.
As students read, examine and discuss a piece of literature as a group, the author’s use of language is often a focus that may launch into studies that support students’ own writing. Using real literature as a model, students may explore narrative descriptions, work to expand their use of interesting language through synonym study or focus on developing features of their own stories such as setting or character development.