graders participate in a daily Reader’s Workshop. In the beginning of
the year, students focus on the importance of independent reading.
During this time, they develop strategies for picking a “just right”
book and engage in active reading strategies. Fifth graders are also
given time within class to enhance their independent reading practice
and are expected to engage in nightly independent reading.
the year continues, students alternate between guided reading groups and
literature circles. During guided reading groups, students read books
that are slightly challenging and work closely with a teacher to deepen
the scope of their understanding. Guided reading books are often
selected to align with the Social Studies curriculum. Students deepen
their contextual knowledge through reading historical fiction, realistic
fiction, poetry, authentic texts and informational texts on such topics
as American Indians, Early Explorers, the American Revolution, and
Within literature circles, fifth graders are grouped
according to their interests, choosing a book that they find appealing.
Students provide written responses to their readings throughout the
week. These responses reflect their evidence-based thinking and their
deeper understanding of the genre. Throughout the year, students have
the opportunity participate in author studies to examine common text
also benefit from class read alouds. Modeled reading provides students
with an opportunity to learn reading strategies and broaden content
knowledge. Picture books and class-selected novels of various genres are
used throughout the year.
experience a daily Writer’s Workshop. During this time, students work
on developing their writing techniques individually and within small
group and whole class lessons. Fifth grade covers several units of study
including memoir, interpretive and research-based essays, historical
fiction, test preparation, informational, and poetry writing. Throughout
the year, fifth graders create a personal poetry anthology. This serves
as a place for students to collect their favorite poems written by
other authors as well as a place for them to compose their own prose.
are carefully guided through each phase of the writing process –
brainstorming, planning, drafting, editing, revising, and publishing.
They have frequent opportunities throughout the writing process to share
their progress and receive feedback from their peers. A typical
Writer’s Workshop begins with a mini-lesson where a concept is
introduced. Students then have an opportunity to “try out” the new skill
within their own writing. The teacher confers with small guided writing
groups and individuals to work on targeted goals. Again, at the end of
the Writer’s Workshop, students come together to share their thoughts
and writing pieces.
Vocabulary and Word Study
shows that a rich vocabulary is essential in strengthening reading and
writing skills. Fifth graders utilize the Elements of Reading vocabulary
program to build their vocabulary base. Students are encouraged to use
their new vocabulary words in their conversations, writing, and specific
activities. Students are also taught various spelling principles and
how words work.