• LANGUAGE ARTS


    The goal of our kindergarten language arts program is to develop communicators, readers, writers, thinkers and life-long learners.  In order to meet this goal we use an integrated, thematic approach.  This means that we do not subscribe to any one way of teaching language arts, but instead use many different ways of teaching in order to reach all the different types of children we teach.  To learn more about the ways we teach reading and writing, please read below.  There are also links below to help you learn more about our favorite authors and to help you learn more about our "ear spelling."  Please take a look at them, they are very informative!


    Reading


    Below is a list of some of the strategies we use to teach reading and a brief description of why we use them.

    Read-alouds
    Read-alouds are standard size books that are read by the teacher for the childrens enjoyment.  They usually are written on a higher reading level and most cannot be read independently by kindergarteners.  However kindergarteners can gain knowledge about story structure and characters just by hearing and enjoying the story.  It is usually read-alouds that instill a love of literature in children.


    Standard Size Books
    Standard size books are used in several ways in the classroom.  The teacher can read these books to the children or they can look through them independently.  Some kindergarteners will be able to read these books, some will hunt through them looking for familiar words and some will make up words to go along with the picture.  Any of these independent activities is encouraged because all are reinforcing reading skills.

    Big books
    Big books are large size versions of authentic pieces of literature.  The large print enables the children to see the words as the teacher reads them.  The teacher is able to point to the words as she reads them, modeling left to right progression and one to one correspondence.

    Songs
    In kindergarten we sing songs on a daily basis.  We sing songs to go along with our themes, songs for cleaning up, and songs just for fun!  Songs allow the children to explore language with familiar texts.  Once a child knows the words to a song, she can follow along in her songbook or on a song chart matching the words from the song she is singing to the words in print.  Songs also contain many sight words from our word wall and the children love to hunt for them in their songbooks.

    Poetry
    In kindergarten we also read poems that go along with our current theme and poems just for the fun of exploring language.  Poems are a great way to teach children about rhyming, which can lead to the study of word families.  Sometimes we even put poems on a chart to read so that we have a visual representation to refer to. 

    Experience Charts
    Many times when we return from a field trip or after a visit from a community member, we will do an experience chart to recount the event and help the children retain something from the experience.  Experience charts are a way of recording the event and are another way of modeling reading and writing strategies.

    Recipes and Directions
    When we make things from a recipe (such as cookies or play-dough) and when we do an activity where specific steps need to be followed (such as when we plant seeds) recipe and direction charts are used to expose the children to print.  Pictures and words describe the steps to be completed and the children independently (with some teacher guidance if needed) follow the charts to successful completion.  These charts also reinforce how important reading is in everyday life. 

    Literacy Centers
    Throughout the year, several times a week, we take about 40 minutes to break into groups and experience literacy centers activities.  Literacy Centers activities are designed to reinforce specific reading or pre-reading skills and enable us to provide children with more individualized reading support.  Children usually work in small groups, which may change from week to week.  The activities are usually in the form of games and can be based on a variety of skills.  Some games reinforce letter recognition while others practice letter sounds.  Some reinforce decoding words while others reinforce sounding out.  Some activities have the children building word wall words with letter cubes, some have them building sentences with word tiles.  Some children may read a book and write about their favorite part, while others may read and tell the problem and solution.  These are just a sample of the many activities included in literacy centes and new ones are added from time to time!

    One activity we do each week during Literacy Centers is the teacher directed Guided Reading.  During Guided Reading, the children work with the teacher to preview, explore and read leveled text.  The children are working with text that is at their ability level and learn reading strategies during these groups

    Writing

    Below is a list of some of the strategies we use to teach writing and a brief description of why we use them.

    Daily journals
    Daily journals are the primary way we teach writing in kindergarten.  The children each have their own journal that they write in just about every day.  They are instructed to write anything they want, as long as it somehow tells us about them.  At the beginning of the year many children choose to just draw pictures in their journal, but as the year progresses we encourage them to use their ear spelling to write what they can.  "Ear spelling" is a form of phonetic spelling where the children write down whatever sounds they hear. For more information on ear-spelling, please click on the links at the bottom of the language arts page. Through mini-lessons and individual conferences, the teachers (both the classroom teacher and the reading specialist) try to meet each child at his/her level and move him/her to the next level.  This is done by setting personal goals for the children and then checking on those goals when meeting with each child.

    Free Choice Writing
    Free choice writing occurs at the reading and writing learning center (and often at other centers as well).  This is when children have the opportunity to write whatever they want for whatever purpose they want.  Some children make cards or signs, while others love publishing a book.  Some even make menus or design plans for a building!  This is when children explore writing without having to do it in a journal. 

    Notes
    Many times throughout the year children will write notes.  They may write a note to their friend on their own or they may ask me something and I have them write me a note so I won't forget.  Sometimes they have to write a note to a parent or a friend to explain a situation that occurred. Each time they write a note they realize the importance of writing and the fact that they are capable writers.


    Handwriting
    At Pine Road School teach the children how to form the letters and reinforce it on a daily basis.  We use many different tactile ways to practice the letter formations, such as sand trays, writing in the air, writing on the rug and writing on each others backs.  If a child seems to be struggling with the formation of certain letters and it is interfering with his/her writing, we will spend extra time practicing with that child.  Our goal however is to get the child to write, so if his/her handwriting is legible but not perfect, we will not push the child to perfection.

Last Modified on March 31, 2020