The language arts curriculum, with its focus on developing students' reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills, is designed to create lifelong readers and effective writers. The workshop approach begun in Pre-Kindergarten and kindergarten continues to help students with literacy acquisition. Instruction in spelling, phonics and grammar occurs in natural context and emphasizes the interrelationship between reading and writing. Students develop oral fluency and listening skills through their active participation in all classroom study.
During reading workshop, students select books of different genres, read individually or in flexible groups, and discuss what they have read through conferences with teachers and peers. Teachers continually model literacy skills, such as vocabulary study, comprehension strategies, language usage and patterns, and inferential questioning. Three cue systems--grapho-phonics, syntax, and context--are the basis of reading instruction. As Primary School teachers have a wide repertoire of teaching strategies to draw upon, they can meet the needs of the class and the individual child.
In writing workshop, students learn to write in a variety of genres. Effectively using all stages of the writing process -pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing and sharing - enables students to develop their written fluency. The Writing Challenge rubric serves as a guide for honing writing skills, and it provides benchmarks for measuring students' writing progress at the third grade level. Writing conferences are key to revision and editing. Students focus on the mastery of manuscript handwriting, and they go on to learn cursive. Spelling is assessed weekly with words drawn from phonics lessons and student writing. In third grade, students investigate root words, prefixes and suffixes. Students are expected to apply the spelling that they learn to their writing. Teachers help students to collect writing samples in portfolios so they can work together to best assess growth over time and set goals for subsequent pieces.