Elementary Reading Program
In 2009, the North Allegheny School Board approved ten recommendations for the English Language Arts Curriculum. After more than two years of study and research, involving more than fifty teachers, the curriculum was developed in alignment with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Academic Standards for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. Included within these recommendations was the commitment by the department to continue to provide an early intervention literacy program grounded in the tenets of Research-Based Instruction (RBI) for reading ingrades K – 2 that includes phonemic awareness, phonics, comprehension, fluency,and vocabulary. Also included was the recommendation for the adoption of an elementary textbook series (K – 5) aligned with the Pennsylvania Academic Standards and Eligible Content that clearly incorporate explicit, systematic,and direct instruction and that addresses the areas of phonemic awareness,phonics, fluency, comprehension, writing, grammar, and vocabulary. The use of decodable texts, leveled texts, and whole texts representing a variety of genres to aid in the development of independent reading (K – 5) was another of these recommendations.
The reading program selected to meet these requirements in grades K-5 is Harcourt's StoryTown. This program is constructed on a strong research base for balanced literacy, including phonics instruction. The instructional materials provide structures that assist with learning to read as well as strategies that help with reading to learn.Selections are organized around themes with a strong balance between fiction and non-fiction. Students also have opportunities to read leveled books at their appropriate instructional levels to help build confidence and increase fluencyas a prerequisite to comprehension.
A Reading Specialist is available in each elementary building to support any identified kindergarten through fifth grade student. Teachers and/or parents may seek an assessment of individual children, and the data collected includes classroom performance, curriculum based assessments, standardized testing results and diagnostic inventories. Such services are scheduled with the classroom teacher and may be push-in, pull-out, consultative or collaborative. Our primary focus is on early intervention, with younger students receiving more frequent, intensive delivery of support services.
For more information about the Harcourt StoryTown series, visit http://www.harcourtschool.com/storytown/.