Literacy

The Foundation of Literacy
At The Lexington Academy, we take a balanced approach to literacy. To reach that balance teachers in Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades, incorporate a 30-minute daily Fundations lesson into their daily instruction. Fundations lessons focus on carefully sequenced skills that include print knowledge, alphabet awareness, phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, decoding, vocabulary, fluency, and spelling.

The Writer’s Workshop Model
At The Lexington Academy writing begins with a commitment to structuring our literacy day so that students have time to write, both long chunks of time, to work as professional authors do, cycling through the stages of the writing process and receiving the feedback that is essential to student growth, and also quick bursts of time for writing as a tool for learning across the curriculum. The Common Core Standards requires that students receive these opportunities to write.

Through the writing workshop, students are invited to live, work and learn as writers. They learn to 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 the form of a mini-lesson and a mid-workshop teaching point. The teacher explicitly names a skill that 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 are also given time to write, as they apply the skills and strategies they’ve learned. As students write, the teacher provides feedback that is designed to move students along trajectories of development. The feedback is given through one-to-one conferences and small group instruction, and includes instructional compliments and teaching. The teacher helps a writer imagine what the next challenge is, and equips that writer with the skills and strategies necessary to begin tackling increasingly more difficult writing projects.

The Reading Workshop Model
At The Lexington Academy, reading begin with an assessment of our students’ reading levels (on an A-Z scale) and then channeling kids towards texts they can read. Our students select a stack of books, keeping them in book baggies, so they can progress from one book to another without wasted time. Students read in school and continue reading at home, carrying books between home and school. Most keep reading logs in which they record the data on their progress through books and the time spent reading, studying this data alongside teachers to ascertain patterns in their reading.

Highly effective instruction must always be grounded in assessment. As a school we utilize a web based tool, Assessment Pro, which has been adopted by more than half of NYC’s elementary schools. This tool allows teachers and school leaders to track students’ progress.