Hillel Academy’s language arts program guides students in developing critical reading skills, expand their vocabularies, improve their written and oral communication skills, and enhance research skills through analysis of both literature and nonfiction. Students in the youngest grades begin to develop their writing skills with an emphasis on compositional organization, editing, spelling, and correct use of conventional English. For reading and comprehension, students will read both literature and nonfiction. This allows students to begin to develop an appreciation of great literature while also learning how to read and write critically and accurately.
Hillel Academy’s new elementary language arts series, Reading Street, is fully compliant with the English Language Arts Common Core Standards. The curriculum is designed to motivate and engage students while building their skills to understand increasingly complex and diverse text across multiple content areas, with the goal of college and career-readiness for every child. The program gets to the heart of the new standards by providing classic literature and nonfiction selections that meet the quantitative levels at each grade, as well as rubrics to support teachers in assigning qualitative designations to text. Performance-based tasks help students demonstrate understanding on common core compatible assessments. The program also offers a digital learning path with interactive activities, additional complex texts, and multimedia practice, videos, and songs that are all linked to instruction.
In middle school, students gradually transition from using a textbook series to reading whole works of literature, both fiction and nonfiction. Throughout, students continue to develop their reading, comprehension, writing, spelling and vocabulary skills.
Language Arts at the lowest elementary level includes vocabulary, phonics, comprehension, reading fluency, writing, handwriting, grammar, and spelling. Each story unit includes checks for reading comprehension and writing. Students learn “amazing words” which exposes them to a rich vocabulary, in addition to standard vocabulary words. Students develop phonemic awareness and learn all vowel and consonant combinations. They also practice the proper way to form each letter.
Struggling readers have daily strategic intervention lesson with more intensive instruction. On level students focus on appropriate instructional strategies for children reading at grade level. Daily advanced lessons enhance the skills taught in the core lesson and provide exposure to more challenging reading and vocabulary. Instructional-level fiction and nonfiction books are provided for readers on all levels.
Third - Fourth Grade
The third through fourth grade language arts curriculum nurtures the love of reading by exposing students to a variety of genres, with an emphasis on non-fiction writing. It is designed to help students learn to read and love to read while supporting reading, writing, and language development. Students develop foundational skills for reading more complex text through modeling, analysis, and guided practice. Varied writing tasks help students write to explain or inform. Unit skills include phonics/word analysis (such as short vowels and syllables), literary terms (rhythm, cadence), comprehension (character, setting, theme), vocabulary (homonyms, compound words), reading fluency (accuracy and rate), writing (such as narrative poems, thank-you notes), conventions (sentences, subjects and predicates), and spelling (short vowel VC/CV pattern, plurals).
Language Arts is comprised of grammar conventions, reading comprehension, writing, vocabulary and spelling. In this course students will apply their knowledge of the various parts and rules of grammar to develop a more mature style of speaking and writing. They will also use the three paragraph form (topic, body and conclusion) to improve their writing structure. Students will be able to use grammar correctly, understand the rules of grammar, write effectively and understand the various tools that authors use in literature.They will be analyzing various stories and exploring writing techniques such as irony and anthropomorphism. Finally, they will be working on their spelling and vocabulary skills to improve writing and elocution.
In this course, reading, writing, listening, and speaking are fully integrated with one another. Course components include the study of rich and varied literature; writing in the genres of narrative, persuasive, expository, and response to literature; direct instruction in language arts skills and strategies, including vocabulary development, spelling, and grammar; a balance of oral and written language activities; and diagnosis and assessment. Students learn to write effectively in each of the genres for a variety of purposes and audiences, read and respond thoughtfully to a wide variety of literary and expository texts at increasingly more challenging levels, apply comprehension strategies to actively engage with text, continue to focus on word recognition strategies and fluency, and demonstrate proficiency of academic language through reading, writing, speaking and listening.