Cross River has a strong literacy program for the primary grades knowing that the most important factor for student academic success is reading at grade level by 3rd grade. REACH for Reading by National Geographic Learning is Cross River’s chosen reading curriculum. REACH for Reading ©2013 by National Geographic Learning is a Common Core reading program and aligned to the Minnesota State Standards. REACH for Reading is built around unit themes with each unit focused on either a science or social studies topic. This reading content integrates well with the Cross River science and social studies curriculum. REACH for Reading features authentic, multicultural literary texts and includes grammar, spelling, writing and vocabulary development.
All students are exposed to grade level curriculum in homeroom large group settings. In grades 1-3, sixty minutes of the 120-minute literacy block is leveled small-group instruction based on literacy standards that groups of students have not yet mastered.
Each student is taught reading at their instructional level using Guided Reading small groups scheduled every day for 60 minutes of the literacy block. Students rotate every 20 minutes to a learning station, one of which is Guided Reading with their classroom teacher. Mastery of the Minnesota State Reading standards is tracked throughout the year for every student.
Cross River has a unique K-3 approach to literacy instruction through a Walk to Read approach in which students walk to the classroom where reading instruction for 60 of the 120-minute literacy block is delivered to students who all need instruction at the same reading level. This allows for strong lesson preparation by Cross River teachers for one level of instruction. Less levels of preparation for the teacher increases highly effective instruction.
Oracy Used In Classroom Instruction
Oracy is the ability to speak well. By speaking in class, students better understand the lesson content being taught. Students who speak for themselves are confident and are better prepared with the communication skills needed for the 21st century. Confident students believe they can succeed in school and in the future.
Teachers Support Oracy
Cross River teachers use oracy (speaking) practices in the classroom during lesson delivery. Teachers provide many opportunities for students to orally respond during class instruction. Oracy is part of all lessons in all subjects at all grade levels. The expectation is that every student speaks during every lesson. There is less teacher talk and more student oral response and discussion with their peers. Cross River teachers use many different instructional techniques to increase oral response by students including the use of prompts, Habits of Discussion and oracy practices.
All students benefit from developing their ability to engage in classroom discussion. Since EL students develop their English speaking skills through repeated practice and hearing English used by their peers, EL students at Cross River have a classroom environment that specifically supports their learning of English.
Students As Decision-makers
Over time, the use of oracy develops students who are confident in making choices and decisions. At Cross River, students regularly have options and opportunities to make choices about their learning. When they can choose they are more likely to enjoy learning. Examples include choosing topics to study, deciding how to demonstrate learning, choosing to work alone or with a peer, etc. Cross River students see the value of making choices that further their learning and reaching their academic goals.