English Language Arts
The Cranbury School District utilizes a structured literacy approach in grades K-2 that integrates the newest science of reading (SOR) practices with the best of reading workshop routines. We believe in the importance of providing the best possible start through a foundational skills program (K-2) that addresses the many threads of Scarborough's reading rope. Students in K-2 receive whole group instruction daily with Wiley Blevins' Phonics to Reading program (Sadlier). Our staff has also received training in the Orton Gillingham method through the Institute in Multi-Sensory Education (ISME) . Students are instructed in phonics and phonemic awareness daily. All K-2 students also participate in targeted, explicit skill based, small group instruction based on Walpole & McKenna's Differentiated Reading Instruction research. We believe in fostering a strong foundation in letter formation through the Handwriting without Tears program to support encoding and decoding in the foundational years. Additionally, elements of balanced literacy are infused through reading workshop lessons from the TCRWP Units of Study. Our K-2 classroom libraries are rich in high interest decodable texts, as well as picture books, rich literature from many genres, and high interest nonfiction texts to support reading engagement.
The Teachers College Reading and Writing (TCRWP) Units of Study curriculum serves as the one of the core aspects of the 3-5 reading/writing program. We believe that workshop pedagogy produces “joyful engagement with literacy” for our students. Reading Writing workshop instructional methods are founded on the principles of student agency and independent choice. One of the most recognizable features of any workshop classroom is the emphasis on providing sustained stretches of independent reading and writing time to children while teaching skills and strategies to support fiction and nonfiction comprehension. A workshop classroom also seeks to build discerning readers and writers, as well as “expert, critical thinkers.” In addition, students in grades 2-4 spend part of the literacy block engaged in focused word study activities through the Words Their Way (Pearson) program elements.
In 2018, our District began a multi year initiative to infuse diverse, multi genre, high interest books into our K-8 classrooms. The books in our classroom libraries are designed to both support the classroom independent reading routines, and to travel home weekly with students in their personal book baggie. During the foundational years (K-2), the classroom libraries also include the most up-to-date engaging decodable texts, picture books, and leveled readers. We encourage students to read at least twenty minutes per day. Bedtime is the perfect time for the entire family to unplug, and to close the day with a print book.
In grades six through eight, our curriculum relies on a traditional approach to the study of major works of literature and nonfiction that represent the best foundation for secondary level literature and writing instruction. Writing instruction is based on the process approach. We believe in building background knowledge, comprehension strategies, and vocabulary through the study of challenging core texts. Students take part in authentic research, performance based assessments, and personalized learning modules of study and have both formal and informal opportunities to write in all modes. Additionally, all students self-select a full length fiction/nonfiction text during one unit of study each year, reading at their just right level and engaging in workshop activities with their peers. Students in grades seven and eight pursue online morphological study to support vocabulary acquisition and word analysis skills (Membean). The middle school curriculum is further enhanced through the addition of Study Sync, an online multimedia ELA platform that offers digital access to diverse literature and nonfiction while providing differentiated, targeted skills instruction in all aspects of literacy.
Grades 6-8: Pacing Guides
EdReports on the efficacy of Wiley Blevins' (K-2) Sadlier Phonics to Reading
EdReports on the efficacy of (6-8) Study Sync
The Value of Productive Struggle: learn more about how to step back in order to accelerate your child's development
How to Grow your Child's Executive Functioning Skills: learn more about how to support your child's self-management and study skills
K-5 Units of Study Curriculum Maps