Lower School Language Arts

St. Thomas’s Day School is a language-rich environment, full of opportunities for children to learn about communication through listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

Listening and speaking are fostered daily as children participate in whole group, small group, and individualized lessons. Collaboration is used as a teaching tool to encourage meaningful discussions and promote positive communication skills. In addition, students learn and practice the art of active listening as they show respect for the chaplain and their fellow students in Chapel each morning. Chapel also provides a plethora of opportunities for children to speak publically and practice communicating ideas to an audience. Over time, children learn that communicating involves listening to understand the information being communicated, as well as to interpret the emotions a speaker is trying to convey.

The goal of the reading curriculum at St. Thomas’s Day School is two-fold: to help students develop a love of books and to help students become fluent readers who comprehend text. Lessons begin in Kindergarten as students learn to isolate and manipulate sounds. Later, through a structured phonics approach, students learn to blend and decode words. As they strengthen their ability to decode, students are introduced to a variety of texts, including fiction and nonfiction. They learn to read fluently with increasing accuracy and are introduced to a variety of reading comprehension skills. Quality literature is an essential component of our program at all levels.

Writing instruction includes handwriting and letter formation, as well as the writing process. Writing is taught using a workshop approach, which provides students with direct instruction on specific writing techniques and then, opportunities to practice those techniques. Students learn to communicate their ideas and opinions effectively through written language by writing regularly about topics that interest them. A variety of writing genres are introduced, including personal narrative, letter writing, how-to-books, small moments, poetry, informational writing, and opinion writing.

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