THE DISTRICT LANGUAGE ARTS LITERACY PROGRAM
The primary purpose of the Language Arts Literacy Program is to enable all students to become effective learners and communicators by equipping them with the communication skills, strategies, habits, and attitudes needed to be successful in their careers and daily lives.
Language is a primary instrument for making sense of the world. The language arts enables us to communicate with each other and to express ourselves through reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing.
The language arts are the means through which one is able to receive and process information; think critically and creatively; express ideas; understand and participate meaningfully in spoken, written, and nonverbal communications; formulate and answer questions; and search for, organize, evaluate, and apply information.
An effective language arts/literacy program must be concerned with both content and process--with what students learn and how they learn. Literacy is the ability to think, to acquire knowledge for reasoning and communicating, and to use available resources to achieve these purposes.
The Primary Goals of the Language Arts Literacy Program are as follows:
All students will:
- Understand and apply the knowledge of sounds, letters, and words in written English; become independent and fluent readers; read a variety of materials and texts with comprehension; and understand the value of reading as a life-long commitment.
- Write in clear, concise, organized language that varies in content and form for different audiences and purposes.
- Speak in clear, concise, organized language that varies in content and form for different audiences and purposes.
- Listen actively to information from a variety of sources in a variety of situations.
- Access, view, evaluate, and respond to print, non-print, and electronic texts and resources.
Think critically and creatively about ideas and explore the connections among language arts components.
Develop an increasing awareness of their own thinking and share in the responsibility for their learning.
To achieve the Mission and Goals requires integration and ongoing discussions about content, instructional delivery, and assessment at each grade level, and the development of a partnership between home and school.
Within the context of the learning environment, four instructional priorities become essential: time, choice, explicit instruction, and feedback.
Students need time to read and write. They need regularly scheduled, uninterrupted blocks of time in school for shared, guided, and independent reading and writing;
- Students need opportunities to have a choice from among a variety of reading texts, as well as writing topics, styles, genres, and formats. To engage fully in their own reading and writing endeavors, students must be able to make decisions based on their individual skill levels, interests, and preferences; and
- Students need direct, explicit instruction and consistent ongoing feedback from their teachers to learn how to read, write, listen, speak, view, and think critically.
Within the context of equity and excellence:
- Ongoing and consistent opportunities to communicate ideas and concepts must be provided to students;
- The strengths and needs of every student must be addressed;
- All students must be assured access to an excellent Language Arts Literacy Program, which provides strong foundational skills and strategies for continued learning and is responsive to their prior knowledge, intellectual strengths, and personal interests;
- Students must be provided the opportunity to develop the habits of life-long learning; and
- Students must be able to use their communication skills and strategies needed to participate as effective citizens in a changing society.
Within the context of teaching and learning, the implementation of the Language Arts Literacy Program is based on a commitment to particular principles and components that provide focus and emphasis on:
- The development of content through process;
- Meaningful activity and discourse;
- Differentiated tasks;
- The application of technology;
- Flexible grouping practices providing for individual, small group, and whole class instruction;
- A diversity of evaluative/assessment tools and strategies that provide multiple indicators of the quality of every child’s learning and of overall program effectiveness; and
An ongoing commitment to professional development designed to increase teacher skills and knowledge of effective instructional practices as defined in the New Jersey Language Arts Literacy Curriculum Framework.