Brighter Choice Charter School Balanced Literacy Framework
To experience future academic success and college opportunities, our scholars must have strong literacy skills. Our intensive literacy program provides all scholars with the necessary literacy components and appropriate instructional routines to achieve success in all areas of literacy, meet the demands of the new Common Core standards, and remain on the path to college.
In Kindergarten, first, and second grades (K-2) our literacy program has the following components: Theme-based Teacher Read-Aloud, Shared-Reading, Guided Reading, Accountable Independent Reading and Word Study or Phonics and elements of the Common Core Language Arts program from Engage NY (www.engageny.org)
These programs work in conjunction with one another, pulling necessary components from each, in order to maximize the overall effectiveness of our literacy program. Our aim is for our scholars to exit second grade as strong, at or beyond grade level readers.
In third, fourth, and fifth grade, our literacy program combines Common Core State Standards Reading-Language Arts Program, and designated blocks of time for in depth, seminar-based discussions of complex non-fiction texts and novels, a writing block focused on the 6+1 writing traits and standards called for the in Common Core ELA standards, and elements of the Common Core Language Arts program from Engage NY. Additionally, upper grades incorporate book clubs to enhance scholar access to texts increasing fluency, comprehension and opportunity to engage in discussion around fiction and non-fiction texts.
Brighter Choice Charter School for Girls Curriculum Offerings
Themed Teacher Read-Aloud
Our themed instruction is based on the Core Knowledge units from Engage NY (www.engageny.org). Scholars have the opportunity to learn immersed in a theme in order to develop comprehension and vocabulary through discourse.
Shared Reading and Writing
Scholars have the opportunity to read and deepen their understanding of complex themes and vocabulary. Repeated readings allow scholars to develop fluency. Writing is focused on the writing types called for in the Common Core ELA standards and elements of the Common Core Language Arts program from Engage NY.
Guided Reading (K-2)
Guided Reading allows us to individualize literacy instruction based on our scholars’ individual needs. Guided reading groups explore texts drawn from both a custom Rigby and Scholastic leveled text bookroom and the Fountas and Pinnell fiction and non-fiction collections. Additionally, teachers have access to our Leveled Literacy Intervention with over 400 titles for at-risk scholars. We also use the A-Z Reading collection to supplement reading instruction and exploration of our themed-units.
Guided Reading is a teaching approach designed to help individual readers build an effective system for processing a variety of increasingly challenging texts over time. Using the Fountas and Pinnell benchmark assessment, Scholastic Reading Inventory (grades 3-5), running records, and systematic observations, the teacher determines the approximate instructional reading level of each of the students. The teacher forms flexible groups of students at similar levels of reading development. In selecting a text for the group, the teacher uses the level designation; thinks about the strengths, needs, and background knowledge of the group; and analyzes the individual text for opportunities to support students’ successful engagement with the meaning, language, and print of the text. The teacher uses the text to help the children expand what they know how to do as readers.
Accountable Independent Reading
Reading is one of the most important skills scholars can learn at school. Independent reading is a great way for scholars to increase their reading level, reading stamina, and expand their vocabulary. One way we encourage independent reading at Brighter Choice Charter Schools is through Accountable Independent Reading.
Our programs are chosen after careful consideration and research. All of our major programs are supported by research and are used extensively at similar schools across the country.
Frequent assessment is a central component of our program. We use the data from our assessments as frequently as possible to meet the learning needs of each scholar. Teachers assess each day’s learning to identify scholars who need additional tutoring or if the day’s topic needs to be re-taught to the whole class. Teachers use standardized assessments, benchmark assessments, assessments provided by our curriculum programs and their own assessments to track their scholars’ progress.
The scholars in grades 2 through 5 take the NWEA MAP assessment in the Fall, Winter, and Spring. This assessment measures growth and helps teachers plan to meet scholar needs. Scholars in grades 3 throgh 5 take interim assessments two to three times a year. These assessments are designed to measure mastery of standards taught in class, and provide teachers with data to create re-teaching action plans. In the Fall, Winter, and Spring scholars in K through 5 take benchmark assessments to measure their progress towards grade level expectations. These assessments are administered by classroom and reading teachers.