First grade Language Arts encompasses reading, writing, word study, grammar, vocabulary, language, spelling, speaking, and listening. The Weiss School 1st
grade Language Arts program for reading and writing is modeled on the principles of The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
founded by Lucy Caulkins at Columbia University.
The Readers Workshop Model supports students in gaining a deeper understanding of their reading as they learn to think, talk and write about their reading. First grade students acquire independence in reading, which is the ultimate goal of literacy.
Students learn through direct “mini-lesson” instruction in which the teacher demonstrates specific reading and decoding strategies, grammar rules, spelling patterns, and reading fluency skills. Vocabulary is acquired through authentic literature including daily interactive read alouds, class novels, themed books, poetry, short stories and mentor texts. Genres studied in 1st grade include fiction, non-fiction, realistic fiction, tall tales, and fairy tales. Differentiated instruction is based on individual student needs during small group guided reading instruction and individual conferences with the teacher.
Students practice independently reading from a “just right book”, which is a book that a child can read fluently with at least 95% accuracy. In our print rich classrooms, there are multi leveled and high interest books of every genre that provide children the opportunity to practice building fluency and gain a love for reading. Students also participate in shared and partner reading and book club discussions.
The Writers Workshop supports learners in conveying meaning in their writing. The Writers Workshop Model begins with a focused mini-lesson that targets one specific teaching point and the mini lesson offers explicit modeling and demonstration of the targeted writing strategy. Following the mini-lesson, students write independently and participate in individualized conferences with the teacher.
Each writing workshop concludes with students being given the opportunity to share what they have written with the class. As they navigate through the writing process, students learn to draft, revise, edit, and publish well-crafted writing pieces. As they write each day, students practice demonstrating command of the conventions of writing including capitalization, spacing, punctuation, and spelling. The 1st grade Writer’s Workshop genres include Personal Narratives, “How To” Teaching Pieces, Opinion Pieces, and Expository Writing.