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Springs Curriculum

Elementary E.L.A. (English Language Arts)



We support a Balanced Approach to Teaching Literacy:
Learning to read and write involves some predictable steps, but the art of teaching literacy lies in matching instruction to the unique strengths and needs of each student within a class. Just as there is no single way all readers read, there is no one way all readers learn about reading. Supporting so many individual readers and writers requires a consistency of practice.Springs School is known as a model balanced literacy school on the Eastern End of Long Island. We teach Reading and Writing through a “balanced” literacy approach. We are also a Columbia Teachers College Reading and Writing Project School. Our Literacy program is embedded in a student-centered literature-based workshop curriculum. The balanced literacy philosophy empowers teachers with greater understanding of complex situations rather than seeking to control them with simplistic formulas or cookie-cutter routines. Our style allows our students and teachers greater individuality.

Each of us wants all students to read and write well, and we also want our students to read and write for critical thinking and understanding. We want our students to communicate their ideas to a range of audiences, and to exhibit their knowledge through an array of media and genre. Reading and Writing workshops are phrases that describe a particular structure that maximizes students’ learning. This structure does not require prepackaged curricula. Instead, the workshop model relies on teachers’ deep understanding of the skills and strategies that reading and writing demand. It acknowledges that skillful reading and writing come with meaningful experience and practice by explicitly teaching the habits and strategies of accomplished readers and writers, and by giving them lots of time to practice with authentic texts. Teachers develop careful curriculum plans that address the strengths and needs of their particular students, not based on the sequence of one size-fits-all lessons in a textbook or prescribed program.

In order to implement these plans effectively, teachers and students need access to books matched to their interests, reading levels, and instructional goals. They also need opportunities for sustained writing in many different genres. The content of specific reading or writing lessons and titles may change each day, but teachers can always use the workshop structure to organize their planning, no matter what strategies or books they use.

You can find out more about Columbia Teachers College by clicking here.