Literacy @ 29
We use a student-centered, literature-based workshop curriculum. Reading Workshop takes place daily in kindergarten through fifth grade and includes units of study that tackle both fiction and nonfiction skills.
Reading Workshop includes a mini-lesson during which a teacher delivers explicit skills-based instruction; a time when children practice these skills with independence - typically in a just-right level book; and a time to share and reflect on the day’s work. During the independent reading portion of the workshop, teachers often work with students individually or in small groups to provide guided reading or focused skills-based practice. In K-2 classrooms, students also read decodable texts so that they can apply what they are learning in phonics instruction to their reading.
Classroom libraries are filled with books that mirror our own children’s experiences, as well as provide windows into the experiences of others. Each classroom has a variety of fiction and nonfiction books organized by interest, genre, topic, author, series, or level of difficulty. Teachers use a variety of tools to assess the abilities and needs of individual children throughout the course of workshop teaching and consistently use student data to inform instruction.
Writing Workshop also takes place daily in kindergarten through fifth grade. Students produce authentic writing pieces for a broad range of audiences and in a variety of forms. The units of study take on narrative, informational, and persuasive writing.
Writing Workshop also includes a mini-lesson during which a teacher delivers explicit skills-based instruction; a time when children practice these skills with independence; and a time to share and reflect on the day’s work. During independent work time, children engage in all steps of the writing process, from idea-generation and planning to drafting and revising to ultimately publishing their work. Lower-grade students practice writing across pages and keep their work in folders, while upper-grade students utilize writer’s notebooks and Google Drive to produce their pieces. When the writing process is complete, families are invited to celebrate the children’s work.
Phonics and Phonemic Awareness
At PS 29, phonics and phonological awareness are important components of our balanced literacy curriculum. Our K-2 classes use and implement Fundations, a structured, multi-sensory language program, to build a foundation for reading, writing and spelling. Fundations is a systematic and explicit curriculum that lays the groundwork for life-long literacy. At PS 29, our phonics curriculum and instruction includes phonemic awareness, high-frequency words, vocabulary, handwriting and spelling. We also implement components of the Heggerty Phonemic Awareness curriculum. This curriculum provides students with consistent and repeated instruction to help develop students’ decoding and encoding skills. Both of these programs are integrated into our reading and writing workshops to support the transfer of these skills from isolated practice to real-world contexts.