The AACPS literacy curriculum provides students with explicit instruction in language comprehension and word recognition. A compilation of learning blocks work in tandem to address the variety of needs of developing readers and writers. These include:
Shared Reading is an interactive reading experience that helps build a community of readers. During Shared Reading, students read the book with the teacher. A variety of big books and poetry are used to engage students in repeated readings. As they read or reread the book, the teacher models reading, thinking and asking questions about the book to support the skills and strategies needed to become successful readers.
Foundational Literacy Skills
AACPS uses two different foundational literacy skills programs: Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling and Word Study System and Wilson Fundations. Data from an early literacy skills screening is used to place students in the program that best meets their unique needs. Both programs provide instruction that is aligned to the Common Core State Standards.
Foundational Literacy Skills- Wilson Fundations
Wilson Fundations uses a multisensory approach (using more than one sense at the same time) to teach beginning reading and spelling skills. Wilson Fundations teaches students to use sounds, letters, and words in reading and writing. Students receive direct instruction from the teacher in a whole or small group setting in order to learn new skills and practice previously taught skills.
Foundational Literacy Skills-Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling and Word Study
Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling and Word Study System teaches students to use sounds, letters, and words in reading and writing. Students receive direct instruction from the teacher in a whole group setting in order to learn new skills and then work independently or in small groups to apply the skill.
The Units of Study for Writing Curriculum is used to teach Writer’s Workshop. Writer’s Workshop provides student choice and ownership of writing. During Writer’s Workshop, students engage in a short lesson in which teachers model a new skill or strategy prior to giving students the opportunity to try it out in their independent writing. As students write independently, the teacher works with small groups of students or individual students to apply the skill or strategy to their own writing or provide feedback.
This student-centered time provides an opportunity for students to further investigate and practice skills and concepts taught during other times of the day, including Foundational Literacy Skills, Interactive Read Aloud, Explicit Comprehension, Shared Reading, and Science and Social Studies.
Differentiated Reading Instruction
Differentiated Reading Instruction is the literacy block where targeted instruction occurs to meet individual students’ needs in reading. Through whole group, small group, and/or one-on-one instruction, teachers use various data sources to inform teaching focused on Reading Literature, Reading Informational Texts, Reading Foundational Skills, and Language Standards. The primary goal of Differentiated Reading Instruction is to grow proficient readers through data-driven instructional practices. Instruction is planned by teachers based on the needs of students. Teachers continually monitor student progress to adjust instruction. This differentiated instructional time provides teachers an opportunity to target students’ precise strengths and needs as developing readers.
Interactive Read Aloud
Interactive Read Aloud instruction provides students with a daily opportunity to interact with complex books. During Interactive Read Aloud, students meet in a common area to listen as the teacher reads aloud and shows how skilled readers read, think and talk about books. The teacher pauses as he or she reads to share his or her thinking with students and asks questions that prompt students to discuss the book and develop a deeper understanding of content and ideas.
Explicit Comprehension instruction provides students with skills and strategies they use to understand grade level texts. In Explicit Comprehension, students engage in a short lesson in which teachers model a new skill or strategy with a familiar book prior to giving students the opportunity to try it out with a partner or independently with a new book. Teachers check in with students during the independent time to monitor progress and assess students’ understanding of the lesson.