The kindergarten classroom is a print-rich environment. Children are exposed to many types of literature and other printed material every day. They learn to identify and name the uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet but they will be doing so much more! They will be exploring print and reading, learning about speaking, listening and comprehension skills and how to communicate their thoughts through their own stories and drawings.
Chesterfield County Schools use a Balanced Literacy approach to teach Language Arts which helps foster independent readers, writers and communicators. The Language Arts block is divided into 5 areas:
During shared reading, the teacher reads aloud to the students. A variety of literature is used during this time including fiction and non-fiction. During this time the teacher works on skills such as comprehension, parts of text and introduces different reading strategies such as Making Connections, Visualizing, Inferring and Determining Importance.
During guided reading the teacher works with students in small groups using texts to meet their individual instructional needs. Guided reading groups are determined from on-going assessments and often change through-out the year. During this time the teacher will also work with the students on phonemic awareness and comprehension.
During word study, students work in groups by individual instructional needs to sort pictures/sounds, letters and words to develop an understanding of how words are spelled and to begin to recognize spelling patterns. This is part of the Words Their Wayprogram. Assessments are given throughout the year to determine the “stage” of word study and plan for instruction.
During writing block, teachers model writing skills with mini-lessons and monitor and conference with students during independent writing time. The Trait Crate writing program is used for writing instruction in Kindergarten and introduces the traits of: ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency and conventions to students’ writing. Children have daily opportunities to write language experience stories, responses to literature, journal entries and independent or “free” writing.
Independent reading time is a time when students can read at their own reading level as opposed to their slightly higher instructional level. Students have many opportunities for reading within their classroom in stations as well as their book boxes, classroom libraries, etc.