Good Shepherd Christian Academy
Thursday, June 20, 2013
The South Shore's Best Kept Educational Secret
Reading - Open Court
Open Court Reading, published by SRA/McGraw-Hill is used for Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade at Good Shepherd Christian Academy. Many years of research have demonstrated the value of this balanced approach to teaching reading. Rather than utilizing only one approach to reading, Open Court uses all five "foundations" of reading. This makes Open Court's integrated approach better than "phonics only" or "whole word only" approaches and the continuing debates between the advocates of both polarized approaches. The five foundations of reading used in the Open Court approach are introduced in GSCA's kindergarten:
Foundation One: Phonemic Awareness
This is the process of connecting letters to their sounds. The goal is for students to hear and understand sound/symbol correspondences. Games like "alphaball", a puppet named "Leo," and objects like a slinky introduce and reinforce phoenimc awareness.
Foundation Two: Systematic, Explicit Phonics
This is the process of applying the links between letters and sounds to printed words. Students work with "sound/spelling cards," and practice their skills with pre-decodable books (with high-frequency words - whole word recognition) and decodable books (applying phonics).
Foundation Three: Fluency
This is the development of effortless reading characterized by speed, accuracy, and expression. Students progress toward fluency by learning to blend word and by memorizing the high frequency words. Students practice these skills with their "first reader" books.
Foundation Four: Vocabulary
Students learn word meanings that allow them to gain reading comprehension. Newly learned vocabulary words are reviewing through incorporation into the students' writing.
Foundation Five: Text Comprehension
This is the process of teaching students to think actively before, during, and after reading. The teacher models different comprehension strategies and uses graphic organizers to show students how to process and organize the information that they read.