The goal of the Reading and Language Arts program of St. Peter Central Catholic is to enable each child to effectively communicate in speech and writing.
The reading curricula adopted for grades K-3 is Fundations by Barbara Wilson. Fundations is a research-based program using a step-by-step systematic approach to learning about all aspects of the English letters. Sounds and letter names are explicitly taught in a multisensory way so that all students can learn about how words are made up of sounds. In Fundations, students learn spelling rules, sound options for spelling, six syllables types, combining syllables, suffixes, sight words and comprehension strategies. Embedded into the Fundations program is bimonthly progress monitoring and end-of-unit tests to assess student mastery. RTI is used based on scores and student’s needs.
In the Fundations writing curriculum for grades PK-3, manuscript letters are directly taught using multisensory techniques. Sentences are dictated for students to write to practice handwriting and spelling. By grade 3 cursive handwriting is directly taught using the same techniques as in kindergarten. Sentence dictation is used for student practice of concepts taught and for student mastery.
For learners in grades 4 and 5, the reading curriculum used is Just Words by Barbara Wilson. This program is employed as an intervention for struggling students. Like Fundations, Just Words is a multi-sensory, systematic reading program, in which students learn more cognitively complex aspects of reading building on what was taught in earlier grades. Topics include morphology, etymology, pre-fixes, suffixes, and advanced spelling rules and spelling options. Leveled readers and trade books are used for comprehension and fluency. Story Grammar Marker by MindWing Concepts and Story Form by Project Read are comprehension programs that are available for kindergarten through fifth grade. Another resource for teaching writing is Powerful Writing Strategies for All Students by Steven Graham and Karen Harris. Additional literacy curricular resources and materials, such as graphic organizers and online activities/programs, are selected by teachers to assist in differentiating teaching and learning for all students.
Framing Your Thoughts
Framing Your Thoughts by Jane Green is used in all grade levels. This is a step by step writing program where the students learn about sentence structure and grammar.
St. Peter Central Catholic (SPCC) is unique among many Catholic schools in that we are able to offer intervention and instructional support for students with language-based disabilities. Because of our highly trained staff and the school’s longstanding commitment to inclusive education, students’ individualized education plans (IEPs) and SPCC Accommodation Plans are honored in the content area of Reading and Language Arts. In fact, our school regularly attracts students who, despite having received (free) services in the public schools in and around Worcester, seek out SPCC specifically given the high quality and successful student outcomes of our intervention program.
All students in grades K-3 are offered Fundations in the general classroom with additional support provided at Tiers 2 and 3 in a small-group setting as needed. Students identified as Tier 2 in grades 4 and 5 are placed in the Wilson Just Words program to assist students who struggle with language. Students identified as Tier 3 in grades 4-5 are placed with a Wilson certified teacher, working in small groups 5 times a week. We are able to accommodate students with language-based learning disabilities based on the reading programs used K-5 as well as additional services offered to students in grades 6-8. Middle-school children with language-based learning disabilities are given the opportunity to participate in a Language-Based Support Program, which provides intensive, research-based, small-group instruction in reading, writing, and study skills. SPCC is also a member of the online resource, Learning Ally, which allows these students access to textbooks online.
Wilson Language Training Demonstration School
SPCC has been chosen by Wilson Language Corporation to be a demonstration school of “Best Practices” in teaching Reading. This entails teachers at our school to be fully trained in Wilson methodologies and to teach these skills in the truest form. Teachers are invited from all over the country to watch and experience ideal instruction.