Superior Reading and Writing Literacy Program American Montessori Elementary
AME School is proud to offer its students a superior reading and writing literacy program, utilizing the principles of a balanced literacy curriculum combined with the guided exploration and individualized student growth of a Montessori environment.
Guided Reading: An approach to teaching that is designed to help individual students learn how to process a variety of increasingly challenging fiction and non-fiction texts with understanding and fluency. Instruction is delivered in the smallest group possible to address the specific literacy needs of the students. The teacher selects and introduces texts to readers, supports them while reading the text, engages the readers in discussion, and performs mini-lessons before, during, and after the reading. The teacher will oftenextend the meaning of the text through writing or another learning activity.
Key elements that make guided reading successful:
*Small-group instruction provides comprehensive coverage of the strategies (see below under shared reading) required to move students to greater achievement in reading.
*Assessment is ongoing and directly linked to instruction. Teachers gather information from both formal and informal assessments about how their students are progressing in their learning at a given point.
*Students are constantly evaluated, shuffled and reshuffled in flexible groups to best meet instructional needs.
*Differentiated reading takes into consideration the individual characteristics of the children, capitalizes on the strengths they have, and expands and challenges their abilities.
Shared Reading: Targeted small group instruction where all readers have visual access to the same text, and “spiraled” curriculum emphasizes key strategies of reading comprehension, including but not limited to: predicting, clarifying, make connections, determine importance, questioning, plot identification and retell, visualizing, summarizing, determine main idea, character trait identification, inferring, and theme identification.
Direct Phonics, Phonological/Phonemic Awareness Instruction: Taught in both small group and one-on-one, instructional settings this portion of a balanced literacy program is designed to intertwine the components of both verbal and written language.
Phonemic awareness is the understanding that the sounds of spoken language work together to make words. Phonics is the understanding that there is a predictable relationship between phonemes and graphemes, the letters that represent those sounds in written language. If children are to benefit from phonics instruction, they need phonemic awareness.
Read Aloud: An instructional practice where the reader incorporates variations in pitch, tone, pace, volume, pauses, eye contact, questions, and comments to produce a fluent and enjoyable delivery. It increases students’ vocabulary development and comprehension growth as well as increasing motivation to want to read while building the knowledge necessary for the successful acquisition of reading and writing. Reading aloud to children builds and supports their listening and speaking abilities and enhances their overall language development. Students develop a rich language base and come to understand the power of words by listening to stories, reading stories, and responding to stories through a variety of engagement activities.
Guided Writing: Small-group instruction, focused on guiding students through the writing process: pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. Students are introduced to various genres of writing, including but not limited to: friendly letters, journal entries, personal narrative, paragraph writing, informational reports and poetry.
Shared Writing: Small-group meetings with targeted instruction, where the teacher models the thought process involved in writing and allows students to engage in and focus on the technique. The teacher, acting as scribe, frees students from that aspect of the writing process so that they can focus exclusively on the thinking involved in writing. Shared writing is also a powerful method for direct teaching of key skills and concepts needed in the writing process.
Writing Aloud: Also known as modeled writing, writing aloud is a strategy of small-
group instruction wherein teachers use a “think aloud” method to share their thinking as they compose a piece of writing in front of students, helping make the writing process visible and concrete.