English Language Arts
In keeping with the Common Core English Language Literacy Standards, your child receives instruction in a variety of areas. These include reading (literature and informational), writing, grammar, phonics and listening/speaking.
Reading is a tremendous part of your child’s first grade education and is the foundation of their learning to love books. Instruction in literacy in our classroom consists of shared reading, read alouds, lessons in phonics, grammar and reading strategies. Reading lessons happen in both whole and small groups settings.
Each week, students focus on a specific reading comprehension skill such as making predictions, main idea and story elements and focus on using these strategies when reading independently. The following is a list of skills we will learn and some sample questions you may ask your child to help him/her understand what they have read.
Using the cover, what do you think the story will be about?
After taking a picture walk through the book, what do you think the story will be about?
About the book
Is this book literature (fiction) or informational (non-fiction)? How can you tell?
Who is telling the story? Is it the author or a character?
Connecting with your story
What do you know about this (subject)?
Does something in this story remind you about something in your life?
Does something that happened in this story remind you of another book?
Ask questions during reading
What has happened in the story so far?
Do I understand what I have read?
Character - Who are the characters in the story?
Character descripton - What is the character like (find an adjective)?
Setting - Where does the story take place?
What is the story about? (main idea only, no details)
Do you know another book similar to this?
What is something important that happens in the story
What is the problem in the story? How was it solved?
Retelling a story
What happens in the beginning? middle? end?
Can you find something in the book to go along with each part?
Reacting to a story
Did you like the story? Why?
What is your favorite part of the story? Why?
Writing is also an important part of first grade. Each day, your child will be completing some type of writing. This may be a quick journal write, an opinion writing or a themed, fun project. This year, we will be learning writing using the Zaner-Blouser Writing Program, Kid Writing and the Journeys Reading Program. Students will learn to successfully incorporate what they have learned in phonics, reading and grammar to complete a variety of writing activities.
The beginning of the school year introduces sentence writing. We learn to use correct capitalization and punctuation. As the year progresses, your child learns about nouns, verbs and adjectives and how to incorporate grammar rules into their writing.
Phonics and decoding are an integral part of our reading and writing. Mini lessons in phonics happen every day in our class. Each week, a new phonics skill is studied. In first grade, phonics instruction starts with short vowels, moves into digraphs and blends and ends with long vowels and long vowel patterns.
Students are taught many decoding skills to help them when they encounter an unknown word. Some of the decoding strategies the students will learn include:
Initial consonant - Get your mouth ready to read the word by identifying the initial consonant.
Chunking - Can you find a word chunk or small word inside the unknown word?
Flipping vowel sounds - If using a short vowel does not work, choose the long vowel sound.
Each week, students learn new high-frequency words. The American Reading Company refers to these words as Power Words. For lists of Power Words, please refer to the Power Words page on this website. This year, we will also be learning words as identified by the Journeys reading program.