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Through literature classes and specialized reading programs, we can meet any of our readers where they are and take them to the next level.

Literature Classes

Each literature class is made up of a small group of proficient readers (grouped by ability) that focuses on the process of reading, developing higher order thinking skills, vocabulary, spelling, and reading fluency. The Radcliffe Literature curriculum is based on the Maryland State Reading Standards. Students read and analyze a variety of genres independently. Vocabulary is taken from the literature studied and both meaning and usage are emphasized. Spelling is approached through an examination of spelling rules and irregularities. With students at the center of the learning process, teachers individualize classroom instruction to acknowledge student strengths and develop weaknesses.

Specialized Reading Program

Following the Radcliffe model of doing things in a different way to meet the needs of our students, our reading program uses a highly-systematic, multi-sensory, phonetic approach through the implementation of the Orton-Gillingham methodology. This approach has been found to benefit those struggling with learning to read. Orton follows a specific sequence, starting with the individual phonemes of consonants and short vowels to create consonant-vowel-consonant words such as cat, hip, and pet. Once this pattern of closed syllables has been mastered, students slowly progress through working with consonant blends (bl, st, cr), welded sounds (ang, ink), and into the silent-e syllable pattern. Once all six types of syllables (the other four are: vowel teams, r-controlled, open and consonant-le) have been mastered, they move into some of the more irregular patterns. While this process is often slow and time-consuming, it is important to teach to mastery because once a student knows the six types of syllables well, then they are able to read 75% of what is presented to them independently.

Unfortunately, not all words in the English language play fair! The words that do not follow a syllable pattern are termed “Sight Words.” As a student progresses through Orton, sight words are also introduced using both those in the Orton manual and those found in the Dolch Word list and other graded word lists, which encompass the most frequently used words in our language.

The ultimate goal of our reading program is to produce fluent readers. The truly fluent reader is one that reads aloud with expression as if they are having a natural conversation. Many things go into being a fluent reader, which is not something that comes easily or quickly for our students. Fluency combines all aspects of reading including decoding, reading rate, and overall comprehension.

Other elements of a typical reading class include phonological awareness (awareness of sound structure), handwriting practice (print and cursive), as well as comprehension of the text, read by the student.

Specific Tools:

  • Orton-Gillingham Approach

  • Visualizing and Verbalizing by Nanci Bell

  • Wilson Reading program

  • Explode The Code

  • OGstar App

  • Lindamood Phonemic Sequencing (LiPs)

  • Learning Ally audiobook program

  • Lexia online phonics program

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