FIRST FOCUS (Grades K-1)
Reading acquisition begins with explicit, systematic phonemic awareness and phonics instruction. First Focus provides deliberate coherent instruction in letter-sound correspondence. Instruction begins by teaching the children the “code” and by providing First Focus books that match only the sounds that the children know. Children do not learn the short “i” sound and then get presented with the word “said” in their reading. Reading is enjoyable because the words found in the readers match the patterns that the child has practiced and mastered.
CORE KNOWLEDGE LANGUAGE ARTS AND READING (Grades 2-3)
HERITAGE ACADEMY has adopted the Core Knowledge Language Arts (CKLA) program for 2nd and 3rd grades. The program teaches reading, writing, listening, and communicating while also building students’ vocabulary and knowledge across essential domains in literature, world and American history and the sciences. CKLA allows sophisticated content areas to be accessible to students with a focus on vocabulary and guided instruction through the use of graphic organizers, anchor charts, and small group discussions.
LITERATURE-BASED READING (Grades 4-6)
Students at this age have made the transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” In addition to the extensive reading focus in the language arts curriculum, the Core Knowledge Sequence directs the teachers’ selections of classical and modern novels to read, and it is the teacher’s goal to help students learn to love literature. To teach literary devices (foreshadowing, metaphor, simile, etc.) books are either read together as a class or in small literature circles where each student (under the direction of the teacher) has the “job” of plot profiler, vocabulary enricher, discussion director, illustrator, or connector to other works of literature.
Starting in Kindergarten, both World and American History are taught each year in every grade. Students learn about cultures on all of the continents and about the important people and events that took place on those continents. They learn about the history of America, our founding fathers, and the Constitution. All students learn the Pledge of Allegiance, the Star Spangled Banner, and God Bless America. Students also learn the importance of praying for our leaders.
History is presented through the Core Knowledge Sequence history books and curriculum. In the early grades, much of the presentation is in story form told orally by the teacher and then discussed by the students. Art and technology projects abound! In the upper grades, the students read and discuss the material in class either individually or in groups. Projects include speeches, research papers, plays, readers’ theaters, and technology presentations. This culminates with our school-wide History Day in May. HERITAGE ACADEMY believes it is essential that students grasp the importance of understanding how historical events and people impact life today.