Listening, speaking, reading, and writing are all emphasized and taught through a multisensory, direct, and explicit instructional methodology. Our reading program is Orton Gillingham-based and addresses phonemic awareness, decoding, handwriting, spelling, accurate word recognition, fluency, vocabulary, and reading comprehension.  Following the Hochman Method for teaching writing by Judith C. Hochman, Ph.D., students write about what they read and receive daily practice writing increasingly complex sentences, organized paragraphs, and multi-paragraph essays.

Lower School Reading & Writing

Students in the Lower School have reading and writing daily for 90 minutes during the first two periods of the day. Students are carefully grouped based on age and skill level to meet their individual literacy needs.  

  • The format of Reading class follows the Preventing Academic Failure (PAF) lesson plan, a skill is introduced or reviewed in a multisensory way. Students hear, say, and write sounds and words.
  • Handwriting, grammatical concepts, vocabulary, and comprehension are addressed during their reading of decodable, connected texts.
  • After a break, students continue in their groups for Writing. Writing instruction uses The Hochman Method to teach complex sentences and different types of paragraphs. Students may write about what they’ve read in Reading or they study expository texts and high-interest themes. 

Middle School ELA

Students in Middle School are taught ELA in grade and proficiency based groups. Sixth graders have ELA daily during the first two periods of the day, while 7th and 8th graders have ELA for the third and fourth periods of the day.

  • Students continue to receive instruction in reading and writing but in an integrated way. Word work focuses on the adolescent decoding and morphological skills necessary for sophisticated texts.
  • The Gateway ELA program teaches reading comprehension skills and strategies, and the Writing program teaches students the advanced thinking and writing skills for various essays and compositions.