Dear District 92 Families,
We hope that you had a restful summer, filled with family adventures and relaxation. As we get ready to start our school year, we wanted to take this opportunity to inform you about our new K-5 literacy materials that will support our reading instruction this year.
Last year, our staff participated in a pilot that utilized units of study in the genre of nonfiction. During this time, the staff analyzed the effectiveness of both the interactive read aloud and mini-lesson structure while also listening for the changes in the conversations that students were having about the books they were reading. Overwhelmingly what was noticed was that the students seemed to be more engaged and invested in their independent reading, and their book choices demonstrated a greater awareness of genre and sub-genre. As we celebrated this progress, we also began to think about resources that support best practices in literacy while also being mindful of developing lifelong, thoughtful readers. At the end of this pilot, the staff; both teachers and administration, determined that the implementation of units of study was an effective way to instruct children. This process culminated in the decision to implement genre units of study for this upcoming school year.
Schoolwide’s Reading Fundamentals units of study allow teachers to use the gradual release of responsibility within the workshop structure; which in turn, provides students with an opportunity to watch modeling and thinking aloud by their teachers, practice with a friend, and then finally, independent application. This instructional model also creates an environment that supports literacy development and concentrates on print rich walls; tools that demonstrate thinking; and classroom libraries that support choice and interest and genre awareness.
As your children begin to experience these units, they will come home ready to talk about the books they are reading in class; as well as share what their teacher read or modeled for them on any given day. Ask questions about the kinds of books your child(ren) are reading; share your reading preferences with them; and celebrate the journey of enhancing your child(ren’s) awareness of the different kinds of books available to them in their reading lives.
The first unit: “Launch” provides an opportunity for your children to learn about the routines that will allow a reading workshop to run smoothly in the classroom while also reinforcing the tools they will use to help them develop as thoughtful readers. Teachers also use this unit to get to know their students; performing a variety of informal assessments for the purpose of data collection and enhancing their knowledge of their students’ reading abilities. Following the launch unit, your child(ren) will experience units of study in fiction, nonfiction, and then interdisciplinary units connected to science.
We are very excited about the steps we are taking to further enhance your child(ren’s) reading development and will continue to share information about these units across the school year.
We look forward to extending our home-school connection across the year; as we continue to encourage our students in the area of reading and continue on this journey to inspire our readers to reach, set goals, enjoy and enhance their reading experiences.
Mark T. Fleming
Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction
For addition information on the Schoolwide Reading Curriculum please visit: http://www.schoolwide.com