Our English program is rich in content and integrated into all areas of our curriculum. Students learn that language is a holistic process that requires developing knowledge, practice, effort, perseverance, and confidence. As such, the language program fosters a balance of reading, writing, and communication skills while encouraging learners to express their voices, values, and creativity in a challenging, relevant, and engaging setting. Teachers plan together to ensure consistency from Grades 1 through to Grade 8, so that students gain close familiarity with terminology and processes by the time they reach high school. While we emphasize literacy, and reading and writing for the love of it, we also take an issues-based approach to learning, infusing our program with references to current political, social, and economic events around the world.
Voice students are not shy to speak and express themselves in different scenarios. We expect our students to present their ideas and experiences to their peers and teachers from the very beginning. As they progress, there are numerous opportunities to speak at assemblies, to parents, and to prospective families, including at our Student Led Interviews, Open Houses and our Issues Fair Presentation.
Students in Grades 1-2 learn reading, writing, and oral communication using various teaching approaches and learning materials. We use a balanced literacy approach to guide our young students through the early stages of language skills acquisition. Students are given many opportunities to progress in their reading fluency and comprehension with the use of leveled reading books; students spend time each day reading to themselves, their peers, and their teachers. They also have multiple opportunities every week to practice different modes of writing, such as procedural, recounts, creative storytelling, etc. Every day, students discuss, present, listen, interact, and communicate their ideas, perspectives, and learning. Early Primary media literacy focuses on applying the basic questions of who, what, where, why, when, and how to examples of media relevant to their age, such as posters, commercials, movies, etc.
Late Primary – Junior
In Grades 3-6, we begin to focus more closely on the fundamentals of grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Students also begin to develop the ability to organize ideas clearly in sentences, paragraphs, and brief reports. They learn to express themselves through informative, persuasive, creative, and analytical writing in the context of various units of study. Their reading fluency and comprehension starts to become more sophisticated as they learn to infer, draw conclusions, and reflect on various texts. Reading materials include novels, poetry, newspapers, magazines, short stories, encyclopedias, myths and legends, non-fiction, fairy-tales, etc; these sources are both in print or online. We build on oral communication skills by incorporating discussions, debates, presentations, skits, interviews, and songs, and, through these, begin developing their ability to think critically and articulate ideas using support from texts and / or experiences. Finally, in Grades 3-6, students engage with media literacy by analyzing and discussing examples of media in their local and global world, such as advertisements, websites, commercials, the news, TV shows, films, social media, the radio, etc.
In Grades 7-8, students strengthen the skills they’ve developed in Primary and Junior grades. They apply their reading, writing, and oral communication skills in more challenging, analytical, and critical contexts. We focus on developing their metacognitive abilities to reflect and recognize their own challenges and strengths as writers, readers, and communicators. The writing program hones more sophisticated grammar, punctuation, and spelling use in longer written informative, creative, analytical, and persuasive works such as literary essays, close reading responses, longer creative fiction, research papers, autobiographies, etc. Students focus on process and on feedback from peers and teachers as they create, proofread, edit, revise, and submit final copies of their work. Grade 7-8 students read, annotate, and analyze a variety of enriching texts, such as scripts, novels, essays, memoirs and autobiographies, historical narratives, short stories, poetry, speeches, articles, etc. They hone their ability to express their critical thoughts and personal perspectives, and listen to/interact with others, through a central focus on seminars, interviews, conferencing, discussions, debates, panels, presentations, and lectures. As such avid users of the media around them, our intermediate students learn the meaning of digital citizenship as they navigate their own relationship with and perspectives on various media, such as films, TV, advertising, social media, etc.