K-5 English Language Arts (ELA)
Reflecting the National Reading Panel Study conclusions, Illinois Learning Standards and Best Practices in Writing, the K-5 District 205 English Language Arts curriculum engages students in age-appropriate study and practice in these areas:
- Phonemic Awareness / Phonics (Letters, Letter-Sounds, and Spelling)
- Fluency (in reading and writing)
- Comprehension (strategies and thinking skills)
- Writing (for learning, about learning, and self expression)
Classrooms use Pearson's Reading Street program developed on the idea that all children can learn from an early age. Skills and strategies are a focus for two weeks at a time but also spiral to provide multiple exposures to topics, and frequent opportunities to review and practice skills. A concept or skill that is informally introduced in kindergarten, for example, will be revisited, developed and extended numerous times, and in a variety of contexts, throughout the year and into later grades. Students are exposed to multi-levels and genres of texts--both nonfiction and fiction. Essential questions promote discussions to which students of all backgrounds and reading levels may contribute orally or in writing, creating a strong learning community.
Curriculum Overviews by Grade
Core Text: Reading Street, 2008
The core literacy program resource is Pearson's Reading Street, which students, parents, and teachers can access on-line. At the start of each school year, students bring home a parent letter that contains the student's unique log-in for access to texts, leveled readers, test results, and Successnet activities from home. (http://www.pearsonsuccessnet.com)
Common to all English Language Arts classes in District 205 is the use of Essential Concept Questions that provide opportunity for students of all backgrounds and reading levels to construct deeper understanding throughout each unit. Reading instruction flows from whole group to small group instruction and practice in leveled materials that best match learner needs. Students striving to read at grade level may work in class as well as in an intervention program with a Reading Specialist. Students reading above grade level typically participate in the Advanced reading level. Students practice further by reading independently and at home. Students who demonstrate that they require extended challenge beyond differentiated classroom work may work also in a REACH literacy group..