Elementary School (Grades K-5)
Download Elementary School Program Book (PDF format - 406 KB)
Journeys School’s elementary language arts program is heavily influenced by the work of Kathy Collins and her book Growing Readers and Lucy Calkins of the Readers and Writers Project at Teachers College/Columbia University. Our balanced literacy framework has five distinct components with our teaching geared to the individual learner.
Independent Reading Workshop is the first of these components. Our goal is to foster the development of readers who not only know how to decode and answer comprehension questions, but also readers who can discuss the story, and connect it to their own lives. Each day, students have an opportunity to read independently at their “just right” reading level. Students are taught how to choose “just right” books and the strategies needed to improve their reading. During each workshop time, teachers listen to students read independently and give feedback and suggestions. Usually this feedback will come in the form of a wish and a star. The wish is something the teacher would like to see the student try (re-read a sentence for fluency) and the star is something that the teacher feels the student is doing very well (using the pictures for clues).
The second component of our literacy program is Writing Workshop. Each writing workshop begins with a mini-lesson and students work through seven units of writing over the year. While the end product of a writing assignment will come in many forms, each student will have focused on the same skill. Writing during this time is sometimes theme related, but may also be free in focus, allowing imaginative minds to explore the world of writing.
Shared Reading is the third component. Shared reading takes on many forms throughout the day. For example, each morning we begin with a morning message which the students read together and discuss everything from conventions to homophones. Later in the day, students may explore a poem or read a story together.
The fourth component is Read Aloud. Read aloud takes place during our literacy time in small groups. Many times our read aloud is theme based, allowing us a natural space to tie literature into our theme. This also fosters more discussion and provides a common story to review comprehension strategies. Finally, it is a time to model what strong readers do to foster comprehension and connections.
Word and Grammar Study is the fifth component of our literacy program. Students participate in both interactive and independent activities to initially build phonemic awareness, spelling, vocabulary, and grammar. Spelling curricula include Words Their Way and Primary Spelling by Pattern and grammar instruction is based on Evan-Moor’s Daily Language Review.