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Preschool/Kindergarten Curriculum:
Language - Reading and Writing

Preschool   pre-K
   Daily Activities
   Practical Life
   Sensorial Materials
   Language
     Spoken
     Reading and Writing
   [an error occurred while processing this directive] Mathematics
     Number Sense
     Algebra
     Measurement
     Geometry
     Statistics/Probability
     Reasoning/Logic
     Evaluation/Assessment
   Science
   Geography/Social Studies
   Multicultural Education
   Socio-Emotional
   Arts and Crafts
   Music
   Drama
   Physical Education
   Concluding Comment
   Download program as pdf

Elementary   grades 1-5

Middle   grades 6-8

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The San Francisco School
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San Francisco, CA 94134
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Reading and writing are the natural abstract extensions of spoken language. However, before a child can benefit from reading instruction some key skills must be in place. The three most critical skills are:
  • awareness of print and how a book is read
  • knowledge of the names of the letters
  • awareness of the speech sounds in words, also called "phonemic awareness".
As a child's need to symbolize his/her thoughts on paper grows, so begins the use of the written word in combination with drawings. Dictation of stories, using the child's exact words is offered. These thoughts can then be read back over and over again to various people. The power of the written word becomes clear as to the child's delight his/her exact words are repeated every time they are read back. This is one occasion when the teacher may choose not to correct the child's grammatical errors. For example, a child may insist that the teacher write "I eated pizza for dinner." These are their words, they know it, and they take great pleasure in seeing their idea written and read back exactly as they expressed it. The powerful experience of using symbols on paper motivates children to spring forward into the world of writing and reading.

When teachers write, an effort is always made to print clearly so that the children can begin to recognize and read the words on their own. Lower case letters are emphasized, so that children become familiar with print as it appears in books (standard capitalization may be employed for proper names, or at the beginning of a sentence). Young children will often begin to write in an experimental way that can look like scribbling to an adult. Usually it has specific characteristics that are very similar to print. It is linear and often moves from left to right in a horizontal pattern, with some individual markings resembling or being real letters. Sometimes the writing looks similar to cursive longhand. Teachers value the communication of thoughts through symbols from the beginning stages such as just described, to the more sophisticated writing that children move on to over the course of preschool.

Writing and reading go hand in hand. Materials for both activities are always available in the classroom. Thick pencils (for easier gripping), thin pencils, pencils with grips, crayons, colored pencils, markers, paint brushes of various sizes, and chalk are some of the basic supplies available for writing. In addition, the metal insets (a Montessori material designed for tracing and coloring geometric shapes) and many sensorial and practical life materials (i.e. knobbed cylinders or work with tweezers) offer further opportunities to develop the fine motor control necessary for writing. Children are encouraged to grasp these materials with their thumb, index and middle fingers in preparation for holding a pencil. As they learn to hold pencils with a standard grip, letter formation and handwriting are introduced. Again, there is an emphasis on the use of lower case letters. Imaginative play and conversation about their lives often gives the child the source and inspiration for the stories they will write or dictate.

Books are an essential component of the reading curriculum. There is a classroom library that includes a tremendous variety of genres, styles and subjects; fiction, non-fiction, folk tales, animal and people stories, books about our units of study, books that represent women and men in a variety of roles, multicultural books, all kinds of family structures, holidays from around the world, poetry, patterned books, phonetic books, and many others. Books are rotated on the shelf throughout the year. Books may also be found at the science table or near the circle area as they relate to current areas of study. Books on tape are available with the use of the tape cassette player. Children also love to bring in books from home to share with the class. The proper care of books is frequently demonstrated by the teachers. The teachers continually express their love of reading, and convey a vision of books as a treasure for everyone's enjoyment.

Children are read to every day at circle time, as well as informally at other times during the course of the day. The books used range in complexity from simple single word pages with pictures to chapter books without illustrations. Discussions may occur before, during or after the reading and can focus on storyline, patterns in the story, sequence, predicting outcomes, as well as thoughts about the characters - their actions, motives, and feelings. The teacher frequently asks open-ended questions to encourage reflection and discussion. For example, "What do you think will happen to Wilbur at the fair?" There are no wrong answers. Children are encouraged to think about what they might do in a similar situation. After a story, children may be asked to explain what happened in order to foster the development of comprehension - and the next day the class may work together recalling the events of the previous chapter. Sometimes large formatted books, often called big books are read. These books lend themselves to choral reading, modeled tracking by the teacher using a pointer, and the whole group sharing strategies to decipher words. Teachers ask parents to be sure to read to their children daily and to model the pleasure of reading at home.



 


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