English Language Arts (ELA)
Parkway Literacy: Reading and Writing
Reading and Writing courses at Parkway Montessori are taught in mixed-age classrooms. Roughly half of the literacy block is focused on reading skills, the other half on writing.
The goal of the reading program at Parkway is to foster a love for reading. Our classrooms are filled with the most current and interesting young adult literature – along with many classic works of literature. In September, students are taught how to choose carefully from these libraries - to make sure that they have a book that’s “just right” for them. After they have found their “just right” books, students are encouraged to have an independent reading book with them – always. By second semester, students gather in literature circles and are taught to dig more deeply into the author’s craft together. They also meet with their teachers for guided reading and mini-lessons.
Aside from independent reading books, students are guided through shorter texts together. Over the course of their three years at Parkway, students will examine the characteristics of informational, narrative, and persuasive texts. This work aligns with SPPS curricular requirements, as well as the Common Core Standards.
The goal of the writing program at Parkway is two-fold: students learn to write and write to learn.
Each quarter begins with a kick-off activity that introduces the genre and theme they will be studying. Students are then guided through a series of language lessons and practice activities that lead to a final writing project that allows them to creatively apply their knowledge and skills.
Language activities, such as Greek and Latin word roots and sentence structure, are accomplished individually and supported by mini-lessons. Students’ progress is monitored with daily and weekly check-ins, as well as mastery quizzes. Aside from learning the content, students learn to monitor their own learning – determining when they are ready for a quiz and when they need more practice.
Students at Parkway will have Reading and Writing homework each night. Most nights, this means that students will need to read 20 minutes from an independently selected novel or a literature circle book. Current literacy research supports daily reading as the best way to ensure growth – it also fosters a sense of imagination!
Beginning second quarter, students will also have weekly essays. These essays are generally assigned on Mondays and are due the following Monday. Students receive weekly feedback from their teachers in order to hone their ability to write clear thesis statements and provide specific details for their claims. The first essays are very basic: simply an introduction, body, and conclusion. As the year progresses, students write longer and more sophisticated compositions. By the end of their third year, they will be writing in-class essays from a variety of prompts – in preparation for the advanced coursework they may choose when then enter high school.