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Language Arts

The Hildreth Elementary School is committed to developing joyful, lifelong readers and writers. We believe that literacy is the foundation for a child’s overall education and, in alignment with the Common Core State Standards, that the ability to read critically and express one’s thoughts both orally and in writing is essential to building competencies in all curriculum areas. Students will develop into proficient readers and writers by regularly engaging in authentic, meaningful literacy tasks. Research demonstrates that the path to successful acquisition of literacy skills will not be the same for all children and recognizes the value of implementing a balanced approach to literacy instruction. At Hildreth Elementary School, balanced literacy instruction takes place in a Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop context. This approach is characterized by the explicit teaching of reading and writing strategies, differentiating instruction based on ongoing assessment, and providing ample time for students to practice their developing skills by reading and writing.

While we do use the Readers and Writers Workshop approach to teaching reading and writing, we also directly teach phonological awareness based on the work of Marilyn Jager Adams and others. Phonological awareness -- the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds in spoken language --  is a foundational skill for decoding and encoding. We teach phonics using the Project Read Program. This program is used to teach phonics -- mapping sounds onto letters -- from kindergarten through third grade at HES.  Specific instructional time is devoted to Project Read in addition to the Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop blocks. In fourth and fifth grades, language instruction continues using the Megaword Program.