We want to nurture learners who have a passions for words, language, and books. We want them to be skillful, confident communications who express themselves with ease. To this end, we begin by discussing why we write and why we read and the answers to that question are numerous: to learn, to share, to be creative, to communicate information, feelings and ideas. We simultaneously address developmental phonemic awareness and its relationship to the written word. This process is one of the most critical activities that children will encounter in their young lives. We believe that this important subject should be approached from many fronts. Attention is paid to each critical part of the reading process beginning with reading readiness.
In small and whole groups, various literacy genres are embraced and shared each day. A sense of wonder and interest in literature is instilled through this diverse and interactive experience.Creating a unified interest in language and words through playful poems, songs and stories encourages curiosity and excitement about reading. Beginning in the fall of 2013, we adopted the prestigious Columbia University Readers and Writers Workshop at Cape Fear Academy. This daily approach to reading and writing further raises our level of excellence in the instruction of literacy components. Students will enjoy daily mini-lessons teaching explicit reading and writing topics. They will then read and write independently, in partnerships, in conferences with teachers or in well-chosen small groups. Use of the well-respected Fountas & Pinnell leveled book system allows our teachers to track each individual students progress and track pages and books read.

Beginning in second semester, each child begins to bring "homework" from school to home each day. These letters, words or books are selected to reinforce the exact concepts which that student is learning in reading group and make a meaningful home/school connection. This additional practice is valuable not only as reinforcement but also as an opportunity for parents to express their interest in their child's progress and the importance of reading to their family. The children love this chance to show their parents just how smart they are!

Each child reads alone with his or her teacher daily. Reading materials are chosen to meet individual needs and provide age-appropriate reinforcement and challenges as needed. Through multi-sensory activities, children develop critical phonemic awareness skills leading to the understanding of the sound/symbol (letter) connection and their relationship to words. Students learn to identify every letter and its corresponding sound. They brainstorm words, identify word families and begin to learn spelling patterns and rules.
Children have daily access to a vast array of experiences to support reading and language development. Whether in whole or small group, children enjoy lessons and centers that offer access to the written and spoken word. Using thoughtfully chosen, age-appropriate materials, vocabulary development is promoted, reading comprehension deepened and book awareness developed.
Students participate in daily Writer's Workshop times dedicated to the sharing and development of their ideas, thoughts, and feelings. Children who are able write their own stories, while others dictate their words to a teacher. Beautiful illustrations accompany each story and their published works are shared and celebrated with the group.

Students keep journals in which they record their thoughts, stories and dreams, and illustrate with colorful pictures. The journals build self-confidence and self-esteem as the children grow comfortable expressing themselves. Stories are routinely dictated to teachers or parent volunteers. The children's early handwriting abilities do not limit them from formulating complex and wonderful real and imaginary stories. The children's stories are shared with the group and celebrated upon being "published."
Additionally, the Handwriting Without Tears program and its many tools are used to practice correct letter formation.