Language Arts

Reading Philosophy Statement

Saint Ambrose of Woodbury Catholic School promotes literacy through the dynamic interrelationship among reading, writing, speaking and listening. It is our responsibility as stewards of young Christian minds to provide a strong, solid foundation using a balanced and structured approach.

The Saint Ambrose of Woodbury Catholic School reading curriculum promotes the concept that reading is the vital process of interpreting meaning from the written word through the interaction of the reader’s experience, skills and knowledge base. Through sequential growth, readers will develop the necessary skills and strategies to allow them to read fluently. We recognize the value of reading as a life-long learning tool. The curriculum cultivates an appreciation of the aesthetic value of literature, as well as the skills needed for critical analysis.

K-2 Language Arts

In the early elementary grades, phonics will be incorporated directly into the reading program Journeys by Houghton Mifflin. This program blends a strong phonics foundation with a rich literature experience, providing a balanced approach to reading and language arts. Grammar, punctuation and spelling lessons are embedded in the reading series. This program establishes a strong basis in which children will learn to read, write, speak and listen. Early focus on writing as a process gives students the chance to learn how to express, organize and finally edit their ideas.

Additionally, students will be taught the proper technique for handwriting using the Handwriting program published by Zaner-Bloser. Saint Ambrose of Woodbury Catholic School will use a manuscript technique. Manuscript uses four simple strokes to learn the entire alphabet- using the same approach most parents were taught and are already teaching their children. The advantage to manuscript writing in the lower elementary grades -- in which children are emerging readers -- is that it is the same alphabet they see in print and is considered to be a more legible method of writing.

Grades 3-5 Language Arts

In the 3rd-5th grades we continue to teach writing as a process, allowing students to develop their own ideas while honing their writing skills. Journeys, a Houghton Mifflin reading series embeds phonics, writing skills, study strategies, spelling and grammar content within the reading curriculum. Spelling, grammar, and mechanics are reinforced via mini-lessons during writing process instruction. The transition to cursive writing follows the development of fine motor acquisition as well as the fluency of reading and writing. This transition to cursive writing will occur at the 3rd-grade level and will be reinforced in the subsequent grades.

Grades 6-8 Language Arts

Students in grades 6-8 will attend English class every day as one of their six core subjects. Students will be working from the Prentice Hall Writing Coach program. This program emphasizes writing as a process, speaking and listening including language mechanics (grammar), as well as written and oral expression Students in the junior high program will be learning and practicing all forms of writing (creative, expository, poetry, argumentative, etc.). These students will also be working on both research and public speaking skills.

At the junior high level, there is a shift from a spelling program to a vocabulary program. The vocabulary program is designed to include proper spelling as a component, but also emphasizes a word's context as a part of speech and its application in proper usage.