Kindergarten is a critical year for building a foundation for essential reading and writing skills. Our goal for reading is to help each child develop the tools necessary to begin to read independently and set the foundation for a life-long love of reading. Early in the year, students work to use newly acquired phonics skills, develop a sight-word vocabulary and display an understanding of print concepts. By the end of the year, students use sounds to decode simple words, increase their independence and stamina in reading and work on meaningful literacy tasks. We use aspects of The Daily 5 each day, including Read to Self, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, Word Work and Work on Writing to ensure that students are immersed in print, environmental and reading level-appropriate text, as well as our phonics study program. Students are also introduced to the CAFE strategies to build comprehension, accuracy, fluency and vocabulary.
Writing is an integral part of all academic areas. Students use their developing writing skills to record their observations of the world, share stories about their lives and document their findings in areas ranging from math to science. In Writing Workshop, kindergarten writers use illustrations and progress to write, using invented spelling, in all genres, including fiction, nonfiction and poetry. We introduce kindergarteners to basic sentence structure and teach them to write from left to right and top to bottom with spacing between words. We introduce grammar and punctuation skills as each child is ready. Direct handwriting instruction is accomplished through the Handwriting Without Tears program. Students practice handwriting independently and through daily writing activities.