Description of Programs, Terms and Strategies Used in Reading Instruction

The Churchill Elementary School uses a highly structured multi-sensory phonics approach to develop decoding and encoding skills. Once students have reached a proficient level of decoding, the emphasis in reading instruction shifts to furthering reading comprehension skills orally and in writing. To increase automaticity and fluency, students continue to practice oral reading, which leads to greater enjoyment of reading activities.

Students receive reading instruction in small, homogeneous groups formed according to instructional needs. All students receive one hour of reading instruction per day, with reinforcement through daily homework assignments.

Beginning readers are primarily taught utilizing Preventing Academic Failure (PAF), a structured multi-sensory program focusing on reading and spelling. PAF provides children with the building blocks they need to learn these skills in a logical order. The step-by-step progression allows children enough reinforcement and review of the material to ensure mastery. Students learn the sounds letters make and how to write them, how to blend the individual sounds into words and spell them
(/a/ /c/ /t/ make the word act), how to use words and syllables to build multi-syllabic words
(act > active > actively), and how to read accurately and fluently using phrases, sentences and stories that contain only sounds and words that have already been learned (decodable text).

Additional support for struggling readers is provided in small group sessions with the reading specialist, utilizing a variety of programs and materials tailored to meet individual needs.

Students who have mastered the basic sequence of PAF may continue to build decoding fluency through a structured program called Great Leaps. This program is divided into three major areas: Phonics, Sight Phrases, and Reading Fluency. Phonics requires students to develop and master essential sight-sound relationships and/or sound awareness skills which will enable them to decode unknown works with a high degree of success. Sight Phrases uses phrases to teach sight works while increasing focusing skills. Reading Fluency using age/grade appropriate stories specifically designed to build reading fluency, reading motivation, and proper intonation.

As children develop their decoding skills sufficiently to read text independently, comprehension skills and strategies are taught through listening activities. Teachers read grade level text, including picture books, “chapter books” and novels in order to expose students to quality literature. Group instruction focuses on visualizing, retelling in sequence, understanding the main idea and its supporting details, summarizing, predicting, analyzing character and other story elements, and inferring. Once students develop sufficient decoding ability, they are guided to apply and expand learned comprehension strategies independently.

Spelling instruction takes place within the context of decoding instruction for beginning readers. Words are drawn from the sound and sight patterns being studied, as well as from high frequency sight words. For students who have mastered basic decoding and spelling patterns, spelling instruction focuses on word families, prefixes and suffixes, and root words. Spelling practice exercises are drawn from a variety of sources, including spelling workbooks and Words Their Way.

© 2009 The Churchill School and Center    301 East 29th Street New York, NY 10016    Tel 212 722 0610    Fax 212 722 1387   

© 2009 The Churchill School and Center    301 East 29th Street New York, NY 10016    Tel 212 722 0610    Fax 212 722 1387