Literacy Framework Engages Learning at All Levels

Our teachers work with children who struggle to become proficient readers and children who excel years beyond grade level. The district’s new literacy framework creates a structure to meet those varied needs.

Elementary students spend two hours and 15 minutes on literacy daily, including about an hour on writing. This provides a balanced daily diet of skills — vocabulary, comprehension, reading and writing. “Literacy components are interconnected, but they don’t all develop at the same rate,” explained Kelly Stukus, the district’s Literacy Coordinator. “Requiring practice of each skill daily encourages growth in all areas.”

In Sue Miracle’s fourth grade classroom at Roxboro, the English Language Arts lesson starts with a whole group lesson, so all students have a meaningful grade level experience. Then, some children work with partners reading novels and answering analytical questions while others read or work independently. A volunteer tutor records fluency, timing students reading aloud. Small groups are challenged with prepared activities at learning centers or the Smart Board. As groups work with Ms. Miracle, she keeps track of time and announces when to move to another learning center. Students focus on assigned activities, using every minute.

Meanwhile, amid a quiet hum of activity in Mary Windham’s second grade classroom, she works with a small group of struggling readers. They read silently and jot down words they don’t know. Then, to build fluency, they imitate Ms. Windham as she reads the story aloud. Finally, students work on main idea packets on their own and then review them together.

Students are curious and enthusiastic. One student flips though a book and comments, “I can’t wait for this story, it looks really good.” As the lesson ends, another student asks, “Can we come back after lunch?”

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Volume 4, Issue 3, Posted 9:51 AM, 03.01.2011