Literacy is at the core of HAFTR’s Lower School curriculum. Students are engaged in a variety of literacy activities throughout their day. Our philosophy about the teaching of reading is that students learn differently and therefore we draw on various methods in our classrooms and engage students in a variety of literacy activities throughout the day. Our balanced approach to the teaching of reading emphasizes a strong foundation in phonemic awareness, building a broad sight vocabulary and strengthening comprehension skills. Students in grades K-3 learn phonics by way of the Fundations Program and all classrooms have word walls. Students are continuously assessed utilizing running records and are then matched to books on their level for independent reading.
Through the Reading and Writing Workshop, students learn strategies, try them out with their teacher’s support and then independently. The classroom structure for independent time varies as kids may work independently, with a partner or in a small group with their teacher, assistant or reading teacher. Reading and writing units are closely aligned so that the material they read, provides an exemplar for their writing. “Book Baggies” go home nightly so that students can practice the reading strategies they learned in school.
Our literacy curriculum is aligned with the Common Core State Standards. This new curriculum requires students to spend 60% of their reading time reading nonfiction. With this in mind, our units of study enable and encourage students to read high level, expository text as well as literary nonfiction. Many of these units closely match the work students are doing in science and social studies.