• First Grade Curriculum

                                                                                                                             

    Overview

     
    Our first grade language arts program is a balanced literacy program that teaches children not only how to read but also how to comprehend, appreciate, and enjoy reading. It combines explicit skill instruction with language and literature-rich activities in order to develop an understanding of sound/symbol relationships, gain meaning from print, and enhance the love of reading.
     
    By providing a rich variety of reading, writing, listening, and speaking activities through whole-group, small-group, and independent instruction, a balanced literacy program meets the needs of all students.  Our curriculum is based on the standards established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

     

     

     
    The following are components of our program:             

     

     

    Shared Reading
    This is a whole-group activity in which the teacher models the reading process using a book with large text, while students participate in cooperative reading. Generally, a shared reading book is repeated for a five day period. Repeated readings of the same book deepen and reinforce students’ understanding of phonological awareness, concepts of print, vocabulary, and sense of story.

     

    Guided Reading 
    During guided reading, the teacher works with a small group of children at a similar developmental stage of reading.  The goal for the student is to learn how to use the strategies and to read for meaning.  The teacher monitors the use of the strategies that have been taught and modeled.  The students are able to read most of the book on their own and the teacher provides assistance as needed.
     
    Independent Reading
    Students select “just right” books and read without interruption at their own pace for an allotted time daily. This activity helps foster an enjoyment of reading and improves fluency.

              

    Take Home Books
    To be a reader, you must read. Our Take Home Program provides an opportunity for the children to share their successes with their families. Books are sent home nightly to practice the skills and strategies taught.
     
    Just as you delighted in seeing your child learn to walk, we hope you experience the same delight as you watch them become readers and writers in first grade!
     
    Writing
    First grade students’ writing skills vary and progress at different rates.First grade writing begins with “Kid Writing” and transitions to craft writing.  In the beginning of first grade, the children continue with the “Kid Writing” program introduced in kindergarten.  In this program, the children write in journals daily. The child draws a picture and then proceeds to writing a story, receiving help to sound out words. The teacher praises the child’s accurate spelling and underwrites the rest of the child’s story in conventional spelling. At the end of the writing session, mini-lessons are taught to the class based on areas of need that appeared in the students’ writing.
     
    When the children are ready, they transition to craft writing. Craft writing introduces the students to the writing domains which include focus, content, organization, style, and conventions
    Focus                          all ideas relate to a topic and make a point
    Content                       development of a writer’s idea
    Organization                 has a beginning, middle and end and related ideas are grouped together
    Style                            variety of sentences and colorful language used to create voice             
    Conventions                grammar, mechanics, spelling, sentence formation, and concepts of print
     
    The children are introduced to “mentor texts” which are pieces of literature that can be returned to and reread for different purposes. These books are studied and imitated enabling the children to take risks and try out new strategies. They offer the richest language and enticing storylines which serve as a model of quality writing and help to create successful young authors. 
     
    Spelling
    The purpose of the first grade spelling program is to improve written communication. Sight words common to reading and writing have been selected for instruction. The students are expected to spell these words correctly in all writing experiences. A variety of reading and writing activities as well as language exploration is provided weekly.