Ask the Expert series, Dr. Paul Lieblich talks about the progressive approach of Clarion School in reading
9 December 2018| Last updated on 9 December 2018
Question: Many parents ask how reading looks in a school with a progressive approach. How does Clarion make sure that children are building the skills they need at an early age to become proficient readers?
Answer: Clarion teachers are trained in a balanced literacy program that promotes a love of reading while developing foundational skills at a young age. While this model, often called a workshop model, looks different than reading in a more traditional classroom where children read from the same text, balanced literacy provides teachers with more tools to meet children’s needs.
What are some of the strategies or practices that help teacher meet the needs of a diverse classroom?
With a balanced literacy approach, teachers engage with students in whole class lessons, small groups and one on one conferences, even in the early pre-literacy years. They read aloud to the class to build a deep love of stories, and they sit with children to have individual conferences about a student’s reading. Starting with letter recognition and building to complex phonetic patterns, teachers introduce phonetics in a structured way and use literacy time to practice those patterns and apply them when decoding. Students are taught to select “just right” books from the classroom library and often use these high-interest texts to practice skills. At other times, teachers use a guided reading model with small groups. In this model, the group of students have shared needs and the teacher selects the text as a tool to build certain skills. The combination of these methods, from the building blocks of phonetics to exploring literature, fosters a reading community where students feel supported.
How do teachers assess students when they are working on different things?
Teachers have systems for measuring student skills and growth, and they use them regularly. These assessments range from scored reading inventories to determine a student’s reading level to spelling inventories for site words and individual conferences to assess comprehension. While the classroom is active during literacy times, it is also thoughtfully organized. The lessons are carefully prepared to introduce skills to the entire class, and the small groups and conferences allow teachers to make sure every child’s needs are being met.
What is the goal of literacy at Clarion?
The goal for our literacy program is that students from a very young age see reading as a tool to explore and gain knowledge about the world around them. Our teachers guide children as they engage with stories and build reading skills, helping them transition from learning to read in the early years to becoming lifelong readers who read to learn.
About Dr. Paul Lieblich
Ed.D., Executive Principal, Clarion School (an SIG School).
Dr. Lieblich is the Director of Schools at Scholars International Group spearheading the development of Clarion School, the only progressive school in the Middle East. He is a well-regarded educator having co-authored the International Baccalaureate PYP, recognized as a National Distinguished Principal by the US State Department and has led several leading international schools in Europe and Asia.
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