- Jane Losinger, Program Supervisor
- (732) 919-0095 x3814
“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.” Jacqueline Kennedy
The Howell Township Language Arts Department follows a balanced literacy approach. Included in this approach to literacy instruction are the components; Interactive Read Aloud, Shared Reading, Word Study, Reading Workshop and Writing Workshop. In grades K-2 our comprehensive reading program, Harcourt Storytown provides a balanced literacy approach to instruction with robust vocabulary and strong phonics components. Genre-based units of study in both reading and writing are aligned to the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. These instructional approaches provide varied experiences in reading and writing, as well as opportunities for students to have greater choice in their own independent reading. The units of study provide common and consistent teaching practices and experiences for all students, as well as time for teachers to differentiate instruction to address individual student needs in the classroom. The Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessments are administered to students in grades K-5 to provide students, teachers and parents with specific information about students’ strengths and weaknesses in reading. This data also provides information to help guide classroom instruction. Teachers meet with students regularly to monitor the application of skills and strategies in independent reading, as well as supporting students with setting their individual reading and writing goals.
The Common Core State Standards expect that students are able to apply their knowledge of skills and strategies to various types of text in a multitude of experiences. There is an increased emphasis on nonfiction text as well as the ability to support one’s thinking with text evidence. Students are immersed in units that ensure that they have opportunities to practice the strategies learned and receive frequent feedback from their teachers. Students are provided with the time and the tools to think for themselves, solve problems, and reflect upon their own learning. There is a balance of whole group instruction, partner talk, and independent work as well as time to share learning. Students are active decision makers with regard to their own learning, such as choosing their own books to read, selecting their own topics for writing and reflecting on their own goals to become stronger readers and writers. Collaboration and discussion, skills necessary for 21st century learners, are key components in the literacy classroom. Not only do these skills promote critical thinking, they also help to create a positive, encouraging and respectful classroom and school community. Classrooms are alive with student-centered learning, rich authentic literature, challenging and complex text, and collaborative engaged learners!
Literacy coaches support teachers in every building with instructional practices in literacy. Coaches provide professional development through workshops, grade level meetings, modeling and co-teaching in literacy classrooms, as well as other venues. Our literacy coaches also participate in their own professional development, through the Columbia Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project, in order to remain current in their own practice while continuing to build upon their expertise. Literacy coaches also host parent workshops throughout the year. Monitor the school websites for information about school-based literacy events.
In Howell Township, we believe in a strong partnership among students, teachers, principals, supervisors, parents, guardians and community members. It is essential that we work together to support and nurture children to become lifelong learners. We encourage you to partner with us to support your child’s growth in literacy. Some things that you can do to support your child’s literacy learning at home are:
- Encourage your child to read and write at home.
- Model a love for learning by reading and writing yourself.
- Provide an environment that is literacy rich.
- Schedule time for reading and writing.
- Create social interactions about the books your child is reading.
- Link reading and writing activities to real life situations.
The Howell Township Language Arts Curriculum, along with other District curricula, is available on the District website. Parents should also read the letter regarding book content by following the link on this page.