Our approach to literacy in early childhood through 5th grade balances reading, writing, and speaking, and listening to enable students to become passionate readers, clear thinkers, and capable communicators. In elementary, students are regularly assessed using Dibbels and Fountas & Pinnell reading records to plan appropriately tailored instruction for developing reading skills. We use the Reader’s & Writer’s Workshop models, and utilize a Word Study model for spelling, using Fundations in Kindergarten through 2nd grade (K-2) and Words their Way in 1st through 5th grades, and explicit vocabulary work with Wordly Wise in 4th and 5th. Students practice handwriting and keyboarding in a planned progression, and have opportunities to develop their speaking and listening skills every school day and with special presentations throughout the year.
Children at this age learn approximately fifty words a day, not just through our language curriculum, but by being immersed in a rich environment that promotes personal stories, daily read alouds, sound games, alphabet stamps, social problem solving, and negotiation. Language lesson happen all day, everyday. Structured and spontaneous lessons build vocabulary, writing skills and beginning composition.
Elementary Reading & Writing
Reading instruction is integrated into various parts of the day. Our goal is to cultivate a life-long love of reading by helping our students become competent and purposeful readers. Students increase their reading and comprehension skills and strategies within a meaningful, balanced literacy program. Regardless of reading level, students are encouraged to infer, analyze, synthesize, and make predictions based on the text through the use of guided reading, independent reading, literature circles, and Reader’s Workshop. Students also gain experience in many cross-cultural genres of literature including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, biography, history, and science texts.
The writing program develops students’ ability to communicate effectively. Every K-5 classroom incorporates a writing process workshop that encourages students to develop their writing skills and express their voice through a range of forms that includes autobiography, creative writing, and research-based writing. Students are guided through all of the stages of writing, from brainstorming and generating ideas to drafting, revising, editing, and publishing.
Elementary Speaking & Listening
Our curriculum develops students’ appreciation and understanding of the spoken word and enriches their vocabularies through conversational language and formal public speaking opportunities, such as all school assemblies. Students learn to express themselves comfortably and effectively through a range of speaking and listening exercises that include reading aloud, sharing stories, interviewing each other, performing in plays, and exchanging perspectives. Students often work in collaborative learning groups with an emphasis on reflection, problem-solving, and effective communication with other students and adults. Students gain experience in methods of active listening, which provides them with the tools for respectful listening to (and thoughtful consideration of) the perspectives of others.
For more information
Paula Farmer, Director of Admissions
(510) 665-8800 Ext. 103
K - 8 Campus
1310 University Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94702
Early Childhood Campus
2030 Francisco Street
Berkeley, CA 94709