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 adhere to the K-12 New York State Next Generation Standards in English Language Arts and to develop literate students in the 21st century.
Students read and write everyday 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 Kindergarten, reading instruction focuses on the following:
- Developing enthusiasm and motivation to read
- Developing phonological and phonemic awareness
- Identifying upper and lower case letters
- Associating sounds with corresponding letters
- Developing concept of letter and word
- Following directionality of text: left to right and top to bottom
- Identifying parts of a book: cover, title, front, back, title page, etc.
- Beginning to understand and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words
- Retelling familiar stories or sharing key details
- Actively engaging in group reading activities with purpose and understanding
- Asking and answering questions in order to seek help, get information or clarify something that is not understood
- Speaking audibly and expressing thoughts, feelings and ideas clearly
Progress in reading is assessed formally and informally throughout the year.
The goal of Guilderland’s writing program is to develop students who 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 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 Kindergarten, writing instruction focuses on:
- Understanding that writing is a way of expressing ideas
- Using a combination of pictures, letters and words to represent ideas
- Writing from left to right and top to bottom
- Exploring a variety of digital tools with guidance and support
In Kindergarten, students will be immersed in writing such as:
- The writing process (with emphasis on selecting/staying on topic)
- Informational writing using various text structures
- Opinion and narrative writing
- Writing about reading
- Producing and publishing writing pieces moving towards conventional spelling, spacing between words, capitalization and punctuation
Students may be at different stages in their writing development: scribble writing, pictures, random letters, initial consonants, initial and ending consonants, writing a letter for each sound in a word. Students are expected to produce a variety of writing pieces throughout the year.
Progress in writing is assessed through individual conferencing, rubrics, and review of the students’ writing portfolios.
Handwriting activities focus on:
- consistently using a functional grasp
- consistently using preferred hand for writing
- printing all uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet that can be easily read
- writing first and last name
- handling writing tools (clay, sand, markers, finger paints, pencils)
Spelling and Word Study
In Kindergarten, students are expected to spell a growing number of words correctly and to use familiar spelling patterns to help them 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.