At Sinai Akiba Academy we use the workshop approach for teaching reading and writing, allowing students from an early age to practice the skills of accomplished readers and writers. In the primary grades we teach phonics in an explicit, systematic, meaningful way so that our students become confident readers. Our youngest students have reading partners with whom they practice reading aloud and having meaningful conversations about their books. In addition, primary age students participate in teacher directed guided reading groups where they learn a variety of reading strategies to better comprehend the books they read.
Third through fifth grades students read books of their choice and participate in student led book groups where they explore a variety of genres and engage in deep discussions about the books they are reading. Teachers provide instruction in reading strategies, vocabulary development and word analysis. We help older students become better aware of their understanding as they read and teach them to develop theories about characters and genres.
Our reading program is highly differentiated. Students across all grade levels are reading books at their own level. In addition to working with small groups, teachers confer with individual students push each child forward along her own learning continuum.
During Writing Workshop, students do the work of real writers. They mine their lives for relevant topics, write drafts of their stories and revise and edit their writing. Children across all lower school grades have opportunities each year to write both narrative and informational pieces. While students choose the topics for their writing pieces, teachers teach students about the structures of a variety of genres. Beginning in kindergarten our students view themselves as confident and accomplished writers.