English

English Department

Reading/Language Arts K-5
Oral language development is an essential component for the elementary instruction of reading and writing. Demonstrating comprehension of a variety of printed materials is a major component of reading instruction, along with using word analysis strategies and information resources. The teaching of writing provides student growth in learning how to plan, compose, revise, and edit in a variety of forms for a variety of purposes. Students are taught using the various reading programs in the elementary grades, being exposed to the Virginia Standards of Learning daily.

Best practices for teaching literacy are being incorporated in our K-5 schools. It is based on the philosophy that students learn best when there is a balance between listening, speaking, reading and writing. The Benchmark Literacy series is used in the elementary grades. It is a based on a balanced literacy approach to teaching reading with whole group and small group design to foster and enhance literacy skills. Comprehension strategies are drawn directly from the literature and applied in lessons so that learning is authentic and meaningful to the learner. The goal is to develop strong readers, writers, communicators, and thinkers. Lessons are taught using a variety of integrated, hands-on activities, which support the English SOLs. The Standards of Learning in reading and language arts are taught while using leveled books as the students read fiction and nonfiction literature and work on related skills. In the elementary classrooms you will find:

  • Teachers emphasizing phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension and fluency.
  • Teachers reading aloud to children modeling comprehension strategies, sharing excellent literature and using literary language.
  • Students and teachers reading together from big books, poems, songs or stories.
  • Teachers guiding students who have similar reading behaviors during small group reading instruction building on the students’ strengths.
  • Teachers providing time for independent reading offering students the opportunity to select and enjoy literature that they can read on their own.
  • Teachers providing mini-lessons for reading, individual conferences for support and opportunities to reflect on comprehension strategies.
  • Teachers demonstrating and modeling thinking as they teach writing skills in whole group settings.
  • Teachers and students sharing the pen as they create a piece of writing that becomes a collection of reading materials.
  • Teachers providing mini-lessons for writing, individual conferences for support, and opportunities for reflection during writing workshop.
  • Students having the opportunity to write independently while writing in journals or in response to literature.
  • Teachers providing strategies for spelling and word study.
  • Students using technology to publish their literary works.

Some of the reading support programs in Chesapeake include Read 180 and Soar To Success in grades 3-5. Read 180 and System 44 are reading intervention programs to engage students who are currently reading below grade in a highly motivating, technology enhanced acceleration program. Soar To Success is a small-group reading intervention program and is research based. It uses authentic books, reciprocal teaching, and graphic organizers in fast-paced lessons to help intermediate students accelerate their reading. The program is designed to be used to help students who are experiencing some reading difficulty in grades three, four, and five.

The two major goals of Soar To Success are to:

1. Accelerate student abilities as quickly as possible.
2. Help students learn to apply and use the comprehension and decoding strategies effectively as they read across the curriculum.

Assessment informs instruction to meet student needs. Some of the assessment tools used are PALS screening, observation survey, unit tests, reading and writing benchmark tests, and the state assessments. Technology is an important tool in research, assessment, and enhancing student’s learning in all areas.

 English 6-12
The goals of the English Standards of Learning are to teach students to read, write, and communicate. They should be prepared to participate in society as literate citizens, equipped with the ability to communicate effectively in their communities, in the workplace, and in postsecondary education. As students progress through the school years, they become active and involved listeners and develop a full command of the English language, evidenced by their use of standard English and their speaking and writing vocabularies.