One of the most exciting and challenging aspects of teaching first grade is creating a language arts program that meets the wide range of developmental abilities students bring to the classroom. To best meet this challenge, first graders will participate in a variety of daily literacy experiences.
Time will be reserved daily for students to practice reading independently. A wide range of reading materials will be provided to practice applying reading strategies, promote fluency and build confidence as readers. Whole group lessons using large books, chart poems, and songs provide the opportunity for students to participate as a reader with the support of the group. We will use this time to demonstrate phonemic awareness, early reading strategies, build vocabulary and discuss story elements. The MyView reading series will serve as our main source of materials for these lessons.
Students will work in small groups with a teacher or specialist to practice skills appropriate for their current level of reading. Small groups will be selected based on student scores using the TRC test scores, teacher observations, classroom performance and student interests. Small groups are reformed at regular intervals throughout the school year to reflect reading progress. Working with leveled books our lessons will focus on phonics, fluency, and comprehension.
In order to read and write effectively, first graders must learn to recognize and spell the most commonly written words in the English language quickly. These “sight words” will be introduced in the classroom and then sent home for practice. First graders are expected to master 100+ basic words by the end of the school year. They must also develop the ability to manipulate letter sounds and recognize letter patterns to identify and spell unfamiliar words. A combination of whole class activities and independent assignments will be used to develop this phonological awareness.
Just as in our reading program, our writing program continues to provide differentiated instruction for all learners by utilizing a variety of writing lesson formats. Students will participate in interactive writing lessons, sharing the pen with the teacher, to compose messages and stories on chart paper. Daily instruction in grammar, punctuation and story elements will guide students as they are provided the opportunity to independently write for different purposes. Students will participate in the revision and editing process as their written work is prepared for publishing. Our writing program is supplemented by Units of Study for Primary Writing: A Yearlong Curriculum.