Reading and writing go hand in hand. That’s a maxim our first graders experience every day. Our language arts curriculum skillfully entwines high-quality children’s literature with challenging and engaging writing projects. Each week, your child will choose “just right” books from the classroom library bins for reading workshop time.
Teachers encourage young readers to engage in “real reading”: reading cover to cover, building stamina, and wondering, predicting, and questioning as they read. Teachers will circulate to confer with readers or pull together small groups at a similar skill for lessons in phonics, word study, fluency, and comprehension. First graders also study award-winning author Kevin Henkes, whose beloved children’s books include Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, Owen, and Weekend with Wendell. Your child will have opportunities to practice retelling the stories, identify characters’ outward and inward traits, and make text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world connections.
At every step, reading lessons proceed in tandem with writing lessons. A popular non-fiction work, The Lifecycle of a Pumpkin, will inspire your first grader’s early efforts at persuasive writing with an anthropomorphic essay, “Pick Me from the Pumpkin Patch.” As your child discovers a variety of reading genres, like “how to” books, he will learn that each genre requires a different style of writing. He will create a poetry anthology including alliteration, simile, and an acrostic using high-quality “mentor texts” as a guide. In the second semester, the curriculum will stretch your child further as she learns to read and write for research. Conducting research requires accessing, reading, organizing, evaluating, synthesizing, refining, and presenting information. This complex process will culminate in an impressive book about a wild animal of your child’s choosing. The pièce de résistance for first grade writers is Reading Restaurant, when your child will present excerpts of his poetry and research book to you and other parents. You will see how our first graders have blossomed as readers and writers. And as they do, whole new worlds will open.