Critical Reading (1st-8th)


Critical Reading I provides a well-balanced approach to literacy that connects reading and word study into one integrated program. The course comprises 9 thematic units. Each unit contains workshops in which reading and vocabulary are anchored by a focus text. Through read-alouds, independent reading, and close reading activities, students explore both classic and contemporary works in different genres and formats—fiction, poetry, drama, and nonfiction.  Students grow their vocabulary by learning the meanings of words from the reading selections, as well as their ability to determine word meanings through strategy-based instruction on concepts such as word relationships, context clues, and word parts. Foundational concepts of phonological awareness and phonics are also included.

Critical Reading II provides an integrative approach to literacy that connects reading and vocabulary. The course is made up of 9 units. Each unit contains workshops that center on a literary or non-fiction work for instruction and reinforcement of big ideas. Students read independently in a variety of genres and formats—fiction, poetry, drama, nonfiction, and magazines—before exploring each text through various activities. In word study, students grow their vocabulary by learning the meanings of groups of conceptually related words.

Critical Reading III equips students with the essential reading skills needed throughout their academic careers. Students read and analyze a variety of informational and fictional texts. Instruction and reading strategies accompany reading selections to help engage students in the text and sharpen their comprehension. Vocabulary is taught explicitly and through an array of vocabulary acquisition strategies that give students the tools to independently increase their vocabulary. The course includes discussion activities that engage students in the curriculum while creating a sense of community.

Critical Reading IV integrates writing, vocabulary development, readings of informational texts, and opportunities to develop speaking and listening skills. During this course, students read novels and a number of paired passages—short stories, poems, and nonfiction—that serve to engage students with deep understanding of age-appropriate topics, symbols, and themes of the novels. Texts are integrated in course subjects and are thematically linked to novels. Throughout the course, students will explore thought provoking critical thinking questions related to literary analysis and universal themes such as love, the nature of good vs. evil and the modern implications of classical literature.

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