English Language Arts Curriculum – Grade 1

The Language Arts-reading literature and informational texts, writing, speaking, listening and language–are a major part of students’ elementary school program. The goal of Guilderland’s Language Arts program is to develop literate students in the 21st century. 

Students read and write every day for various purposes and receive frequent written and oral feedback from their teachers and peers. Instruction occurs individually, in small groups, and in whole class settings. 

Students are expected to read and understand more complex material and write and speak with more sophistication as they progress through the grades. Students will read and respond to texts from a diverse range of authors, genres, cultures and perspectives.  Attention to Language Arts skills and strategies is integrated into student learning throughout the day.


The purpose of reading is to make meaning from written material. It is a highly complex act of communication requiring active involvement.

The overall objective of reading instruction is to develop motivated readers who process written language efficiently and derive meaning from what they read. 

In Grade One, reading instruction builds upon previous learning and adds focus on the following skills while processing increasingly complex texts:

  • Reading literature and informational texts 
  • Building reading stamina
  • Independently selecting appropriate level texts 
  • Retelling stories including key details
  • Asking and answering questions
  • Comparing and contrasting different texts and characters
  • Explaining major differences between books that tell stories and books that give information
  • Reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension 
  • Knowing and applying grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words

Progress in reading is assessed formally and informally throughout the year.


The goal of Guilderland’s writing program is to develop students who can write competently and with confidence. Guilderland recognizes that writing is a complex process, and its writing program addresses the following student learning objectives:

  • Students have choice of topic, genre, structure and audience for their writing
  • Students at every level have frequent opportunities to draw and write, and to receive a great deal of appropriate instruction and feedback
  • Students realize that their lives, ideas and interests are worth writing about
  • Students know that audience and purpose will influence decisions they make about their writing
  • Students increase writing stamina

In Grade One, students will be immersed in writing such as:

  • The writing process (with emphasis on selecting and staying on a topic)
  • Informational writing using various text structures
  • Opinion writing
  • Narrative writing
  • Writing about reading
  • Producing and publishing writing pieces moving towards conventional spelling, spacing between words, capitalization and punctuation

Students are expected to produce a variety of writing pieces throughout the year. They will complete their work with attention to the qualities of good writing, correct spelling and mechanics.

Progress is assessed through individual conferencing, rubrics and review of the students’ writing portfolios. 


Handwriting activities are focused on students consistently using a functional grasp, and printing all uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet that can be easily read.

Spelling and Word Study

In Grade One, students are expected to read and spell a growing number of words correctly and to use familiar spelling patterns to help them read and write words. Students are encouraged to use word walls and other resources to support spelling learning and accuracy.

Students will engage in a word study approach that includes the development of phonics, spelling, word recognition and vocabulary

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