The building blocks of reading, writing, speaking, and listening are introduced in the lower grades, and include the development of phonemic awareness and the ability to notice, consider, and work with the individual sounds in spoken and written words.
As fluency develops, readers can focus their attention on understanding meaning, as well as on finding connections between the text and their own experiences. Students develop skills at their own pace, yet at the same time they are held to high standards and expectations. All the while, teachers foster an appreciation for language and passion for positive communication.
Exposure to literature is a critical component of our language arts program. Whether read aloud or silently, in the classroom or at home, books play a big part in the rhythm of a Senesh day. Students learn to read for information while also having the opportunity to read for pleasure. Active, engaged reading is encouraged, as students develop critical thinking skills and learn to dialogue with the works they read. Students are exposed to varied forms of writing, including picture books, novels, dramatic plays, poetry, nonfiction, magazines, and newspapers.
Beginning in kindergarten and continuing through eighth grade, students approach the writing process by focusing on the six traits of strong writing: Ideas, Organization, Voice, Word Choice, Sentence Fluency and Conventions. The Write Source series of writing handbooks provides a framework for exploring these traits. Daily writing activities include creative fiction, poetry, essays, narration, exposition, and journal entries. Students have opportunities to write across the curriculum, whether they are writing up a lab report in science, compiling research for social studies, or crafting a commentary for Chumash.