English Language Arts (K-5)
The Cranbury School District utilizes a structured literacy approach that integrates the newest science of reading (SOR) practices with the best of balanced literacy. 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 with Phonics to Reading, differentiated small group instruction with Walpole & McKenna's Bookworms program, Handwriting without Tears for letter formation, and elements of balanced literacy delivered through the Teachers College Reading Writing Project's Units of Study.
The Teachers College Reading and Writing (TCRWP) Units of Study curriculum serves as the basis for 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 long stretches of independent reading and writing time to children, and through productive struggle, become discerning readers and writers, as well as “expert, critical thinkers.”
The TCRWP, as it is commonly known, is a think tank, field-based research team, and provider of literacy curriculum and professional development for teachers. The mission of the TCRWP, according to their website, “is to support young people, teachers, and families in order to develop future generations of expert, passionate, and critical thinkers— young people who use literacy to speak out and to live as engaged, curious, justice-seeking citizens in the world. We aim to create and support teaching that is anti-racist and anti-oppressive, teaching that fosters democratic engagement, empathy, and inclusivity.”
To demonstrate authentic support of these goals, in 2018, our District purchased (and continuously updates), diverse, leveled/unleveled, genre and interest based K-8 classroom libraries, fully curated by the TCRWP and its team of literacy experts and librarians. 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.
In 2018, the District became a Partnership School with the Teachers College Reading Writing Project (TCRWP) at Columbia University, which means that we believe in sustained investment in continuous professional development for teachers. As a partnership school, we have access to additional resources not available to the public, as well as the unique benefit of developing relationships with authentic staff developers from the project, who visit our school to coach our teaching staff in the workshop goals. Many of our teachers attended the 2018 Summer TCRWP Institute, in District, an immersive course of study in TCRWP curriculum and instructional methods.
In grades six through eight, our curriculum infuses workshop pedagogy with a traditional approach to the study of major works of literature that represent the best foundation for secondary level literature and writing instruction. Writing instruction is based on the process approach. Students take part in authentic research, performance based assessments, and personalized learning modules of study. We believe in building background knowledge, comprehension strategies, and vocabulary through the study of challenging core texts.
In response to the pandemic, the TCRWP has expanded their Family Engagement efforts to support all of the nation’s children through these unprecedented times. To this end, they have produced hundreds of videos to support teachers with remote instruction. Recently, they released additional resources for families. We encourage families to subscribe to the Project’s Youtube channel, where new videos are regularly posted to provide your family with the tools needed to promote literacy in your home and to support workshop goals.
Lucy Calkins, Co-Founder of the TCRWP, The Value of Productive Struggle
...learn more about how to step back in order to accelerate your child's development
Shanna Schwartz, Senior Staff Developer, 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 TCRWP Units of Study Curriculum Maps