Kindergarten - Grade 4 meet daily in homeroom.
The Lower School uses the Teachers College Reading Workshop for its reading curriculum. The workshop model allows students to tackle the challenging work of learning how to read in a predictable and supportive environment. Each Reading Workshop includes:
• A teacher-led mini-lesson that teaches a reading skill, comprehension strategy, or habit of proficient reading.
• Independent reading time for students to practice and apply what they have learned to a book of choice that matches their reading level.
• Individual reading conferences that provide targeted instruction to support each child’s reading development.
• Partner shares where students think and talk together about a text and support one another’s reading goals.
• Book/research clubs where students have conversations about their reading/research, listen to each other, and grow new ideas that may not have come up had they not had the conversation.
The curriculum is naturally differentiated. Children read and apply lessons to books at their individual reading level so that they can read accurately and fluently while comprehending the meaning of the text.
There are four units of study for each grade, which are structured to help students read, understand, and analyze fiction and nonfiction texts. Teachers emphasize the joy of reading and help students develop rich reading identities.
Unit 1: Kindergartners develop emergent reading skills, using story language to support their developing identities as readers.
Unit 2: Students learn a repertoire of beginning reading strategies to help them read.
Unit 3: Students read increasingly difficult books with greater independence and begin to read with accuracy, fluency, and comprehension.
Unit 4: Children read fictional stories with attention to character, setting, and plot. They read nonfiction books and become experts in a chosen topic. Students also improve their fluency by reading poems and song lyrics.
Unit 1: First graders start the year reviewing the good reading habits they learned in kindergarten and developing new habits for word solving.
Unit 2: Children learn strategies for comprehending nonfiction.
Unit 3: Students read increasingly complex texts for fluency and comprehension.
Unit 4: Children concentrate on story elements by studying characters and the life lessons these characters learn.
Unit 1: Second graders grow from readers who focus on print to readers who focus on meaning.
Unit 2: Students shift from reading fiction to nonfiction, exploring a variety of different topics. Becoming proficient with nonfiction texts prepares students to embark on an in-depth and interdisciplinary study of birds later in the year.
Unit 3: Children focus on reading fluency and figurative language. They improve their comprehension through longer, more complicated books.
Unit 4: Students read fictional series in book clubs to study characters and the authors’ craft.
Unit 1: Third graders develop comprehension checks for following a story’s thread. They tackle multisyllabic words and figurative language and learn to envision and predict a story’s evolution.
Unit 2: Students approach nonfiction with a focus on constructing mental summaries of the texts, including big ideas and supporting information.
Unit 3: Students study fictional characters in depth. They develop theories about characters and follow them through the “story mountain.” They consider the lessons characters learn and compare and contrast characters, settings, and themes.
Unit 4: Children form research clubs and read a collection of texts on a topic. They focus on synthesizing and organizing information.
Unit 1: Fourth graders delve into higher-level texts and study the complexity of characters. They trace a theme through different parts of a story and work on skills such as inference and interpretation while studying different fictional genres.
Unit 2: Students focus on nonfiction reading. They learn to distill main ideas, summarize, and compare/contrast text structures. Students form research teams to read about different topics connected to their study of Ancient Egypt.
Unit 3: Children form historical fiction book clubs. Each club reads novels set within a historical time period as well as nonfiction texts about that era, enlarging their historical knowledge and gaining greater understanding of characters and their struggles, perspectives, and insights.
Unit 4: Fourth grade readers study Greek mythology, focusing on the significance these stories held in Ancient Greek civilization. Students pay careful attention to the sequence of events and the roles of different characters.Unit 5: Students delve into stories that address social issues such as bullying, poverty, and physical challenges. They identify themes as they focus on the struggles characters face.