English Language Arts
Students in Kindergarten through Fifth grades receive 120 minutes of ELA instruction daily. A balanced literacy approach is used at Shepherd for English Language Arts. This approach is to provide students with opportunities to engage in a wide variety of texts, writing opportunities and speaking and listening activities and to differentiate learning experiences to meet the literacy needs of all students. The components of the literacy block include Foundational Skills, Reading, Research and Writing, and Small Group Literacy.
Foundational Literacy Curriculum: Heggerty and Fundations
Fundations is a systematic phonics, spelling, and handwriting program that is facilitated in our kindergarten to second grade classrooms. Fundations is taught in the whole-class setting, but can also be taught in a small group or 1:1 setting, for students who may require additional time for learning in these areas.
Key features of this program include the following, and are presented from Unit to Unit and year to year:
- Instruction in Letter formation, using scripted language of “sky line, plane line, grass line, worm line”
- Instruction in Phonological Awareness
- Instruction in Sound-symbol Correspondence knowledge, teaching students a letter name, its key word, and its sound(s)
- Instruction in Phonics, word study, and advanced word study
- Irregular (trick) word instruction (for both reading and spelling)
- Comprehension strategies
- Written composition (spelling and handwriting)
Reading, Research, and Writing: Passport to Learning