Reading in the Upper Elementary classroom shifts from “learning to read” to “reading to learn”. Students are engaged in shared, guided, and independent reading as they discuss texts with other students. They develop reading fluency and comprehension strategies as they practice reading a wide variety of genres including poetry, non-fiction, fiction and biography. Students learn to develop their own understanding of the text, and to infer what is not explicitly written. Vocabulary is studied and discussed as it pertains to specific readings.
Students learn the process that writers go through to complete a finished piece and practice writing their own poems, biographies, autobiographies, research reports, diary entries, interviews, essays, and creative stories. Students have ample time to think and compose written pieces with support and have opportunities to share what they have written. Students receive direct instruction in spelling, vocabulary, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar.
The Great Books curriculum focuses on works of classic literature that often have a philosophical or moral message. Students read, interpret, and discuss their ideas and how they pertain both to the reading and their own lives. They develop writing skills as they express their opinions regarding the text. Students learn to search within themselves, to help them decide how they feel about a topic, and how they will use the text to back up their ideas. Discussions teach the students to listen, think, and synthesize others’ opinions as well.