English--Listening, Reading, Speaking, and Writing
So it is with children who learn to read fluently and well: They begin to take flight into whole new worlds as effortlessly as young birds take to the sky. —William James, American author and philosopher
At the Academy of St. Joseph, our study of English and Language Arts at all grade level focuses on enhancing competence and confidence in listening, reading, speaking, and writing. Children are exposed to a wide range of literary generes in both fiction and non-fiction. Vocabulary is best studied in context, and literature provides an age-appropiate vehicle for building a strong understanding of words and word usage. In all grades, students explore writing in many genres, including peotry, persuasive essays, first-person and historical narratives, creative writing, and journaling.
In the Lower School, reading is assessed through the Fountas and Pinnel reading levels to help measure students progress. In addition, Lower School teachers employ the Columbia University Teachers College Reading and Writing Project as the cornerstone of our English and Language Arts pedagogy. This program provides instruction in the craft of writing across grade levels. Students learn phonics, spelling, handwriting, vocabulary, and grammer. Students gain practice in public speaking through in-class activities and by reading annoucements at morning assemblies.
In the Upper School, students continue to work on basic skills, developing a greater understanding of grammar, syntax, and word usage. They continue to present their ideas through a number of classroom activities, including debates, small group discussions, and individual presentations. Students read and analyze more sophisticated literature and continue to write fiction, poetry, and non-fiction genres such as persuasive and analytical essays, and journalistic reporting.