Elementary Literacy Program
Stafford County Public Schools provides a comprehensive, balanced literacy program for all students. This comprehensive approach begins with the development of a strong foundation in phonemic awareness, student’s recognition of sounds, and oral language starting in kindergarten. Comprehension instruction focuses on strategies for independent learning. Students read fiction, informational, or nonfiction texts and learn to interpret of visual information including illustrations, charts, graphs and electronic sources such as websites and online encyclopedias.
Meeting Students’ Needs
Parents and teachers can partner together to identify appropriate reading instruction for students. All students in Stafford County Public Schools receive periodic assessments in reading and writing beginning with the PALS early literacy screening in kindergarten. Students work in reading groups at an instructional level at which they can read with some support. Groups may be flexible depending on skills being taught or the interest level of a particular selection. Students who are reading significantly below grade level receive small group assistance from specially trained paraprofessionals under the supervision of the Reading Specialist as well as activities in each school’s reading center.
Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
Comprehension instruction is the cornerstone of the balanced literacy program throughout the elementary grades. The development of fluent oral reading, vocabulary and phonics instruction are emphasized to improve comprehension. The program also includes a strong direct writing component to encourage and demonstrate the application of skills. Students are encouraged to read independently and fostering a love of reading is central to the program. In addition to teacher-made tests and questioning as part of the instruction, the students’ understanding of the reading and writing skills and knowledge is measured by multiple assessments including PALS and STAR. Students will take the Virginia Standards of Learning Assessment of Reading in third, fourth and fifth grades.
Components of the Comprehensive Literacy Program
- Phonemic Awareness
- Oral Language Development
- Systemic Phonics Instruction
- Direct Writing Instruction
- Independent Reading Practice
Parents are celebrated and recognized as the students’ first and strongest literacy influence and are included in all aspects of the literacy program. Ideally, parents and classroom teachers function as a team, with assistance from the Reading Specialist, ESOL Teacher, Speech Pathologist and others as needed.
Student Achievement Trends
The SCPS student achievement trend on the third, fourth, and fifth grade Standards of Learning Tests for Reading have been comparable to the state results.