The Stoughton School District's literacy goal is to ensure that all students become successful, high level readers, writers, speakers and listeners. Students are expected to meet the State Standards in ELA adopted by the State of Wisconsin at each grade level. Stoughton's Comprehensive Approach to Literacy stresses the essential components of reading through explicit teaching of phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency and expressiveness, vocabulary, comprehension, spelling, writing and handwriting.
Reading Instruction at Kegonsa
At Kegonsa, we follow a workshop approach to reading instruction. Each day students are provided a brief mini lesson; a very short, five to ten minute long lesson in which students are taught a strategy they can use in their own reading not just that day–but every day. Following the mini lesson, and for the bulk of the reading workshop, students are sent off to work on their independent reading. “Reading begins with a commitment to giving students large amounts of time to read books of their own choice, when possible, and always ones that they can read with fluency, accuracy and comprehension. Mountains of data confirm that in order for students to progress as readers, they must have abundant time to read” (Lucy Calkins, TCRWP). While students are engaged in their independent reading, the teacher is conferring with students about what they are reading, and providing individualized instruction either one-on-one or in small groups. The reading workshop wraps up with a share time. During this time, students share strategies they applied that day to their independent reading. This may be done as a whole class or in small groups. Written responses and book recommendations can be shared as well.
Writing Instruction at Kegonsa
What is a writing workshop? Writing workshop is an instruction model that focuses on the strengths, interests and needs of each individual writer. At Kegonsa, we follow a writing workshop approach to writing instruction using the highly regarded Units of Study in Writing by Lucy Calkins. Teachers provide direct instruction on the writing process, craft, genre and mechanics. Students are given time and choice of what to write, and opportunities to share with authentic audiences.
“During the writing workshop, students are invited to live, work and learn as writers. They observe their lives and the world around them while collecting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing well-crafted narrative and expository texts. Students receive direct instruction in a mini lesson, during which the teacher explicitly names a skill proficient writers use that is within reach for most of the class, then demonstrates the skill and provides students with a brief interval of guided practice using it. Students then have time to write, applying the repertoire of skills and strategies they’ve learned, while receiving feedback through one-to-one conferences and small group instruction designed to move them along trajectories of development” (Teachers College Reading and Writing Project).