Grades K-3 participate in a reading program by American Reading Company. Here are a few frequently asked questions and answers! :)
1. Is homework really just reading?
Teachers communicate the Power Goal with a tangible strategy for the goal to be practiced. Student should be able to communicate the goal to the parent. Examples of these strategies may include…
· Word sort provided by teacher
· Word hunts -- Student will seek out targeted phonics skills in her/his reading and write them down (for example, prefixes/suffixes. long-vowel words kit vs. kite)
· Power Word flashcards provided by teacher
· Power Word games provided by teacher
· Reading a variety of genres and discussing their qualities
· Using context clues to figure out the meaning of new vocabulary words
2. How do I know what my child should be able to do at each level?
The ARC Skills Card details what a student should be able to accomplish at each level; the card should be located in the student’s reading folder. ARC provides additional information for levels 1 Yellow through 2 Blue at www.americanreadingathome.com.
3. Why is my child bringing home books that are so easy to read?
Each child is working at his independent reading level, where he needs little-to-no assistance, making it easier to practice the skills/strategies given by the teacher. Once the student has demonstrated proficiency to the teacher, he will be moved up to the next level.
4. I’m not seeing much coming home, so what is my child learning in school?
For grades 1 through 3, during the daily reading block, the independent reading portion is 30 minutes. These are the four units for the year:
· 1st unit: Setting up routines; initial determination of reading level; focus on grammar and composition
· 2nd unit: Reading and writing informational text on a student-selected topic; in conjunction with grade-level standards, the students are taught how to find answers to questions and how to effectively communicate their findings.
· 3rd unit: A study of story elements (for example, character, setting, problem and solution, etc.); students will craft a story of their own depending upon the grade level’s genre.
· 4th unit: A study of persuasive writing through researching a non-fiction topic and taking a stance on it through writing; because each week of instruction adds to the cumulative end-of-quarter product, traditional worksheets won’t be coming home.
5. Why does it seem that my child is memorizing a lot of words?
To establish a foundational reading and writing vocabulary, students are expected to know key words by sight; these words fall under one of two categories:
· Tricky Words are commonly used sight words and cannot be easily decoded using phonemic strategies (for example, laugh, pretty, great, night, friend, etc.).
· Power Words are high-frequency words (and, the, boy, give, your, etc.).
6. What about spelling?
As students work through those levels that primarily focus on reading high frequency words (1G-2G), they also focus on spelling those words accurately in their writing. This shared focus across reading and writing accelerates student mastery of each level and allows students to move through the levels more quickly. As those students progress to decoding one-syllable words (at 1B), they practice applying the skill of chunking (learned through reading) to their writing in order to spell one-syllable words accurately. In this way, students learn a transferable skill for spelling rather than memorizing the spelling of specific sets of words.
The teacher welcomes the students and sets the focus for the day. Grammar, spelling, and Power Words will all be addressed during this aspect of the language arts block.
Students listen to on-grade level or above-grade level text being read aloud and then process ways to apply the daily focus to this piece of writing.
· Independent Reading time: While students are reading independently and practicing their Power Goals, the teacher is meeting with them individually to further their individual reading progress. This one-on-one time may be a status check of comprehension skills, phonics skills, or sight words proficiency.
· Research Reading: Grade-level text is read and students are taught a necessary grade-level skill, following the focus set for the day. They learn how to gather necessary information that supports the focus. Students then get time to apply this new strategy to their reading.
The teacher models how to take the information the students have learned and communicate it through writing. Spelling, grammar, and other skills are woven into this instruction. Students then practice this learning with their own information that they found when reading.