I just completed two days of training for LEAD 21, which is Ankeny’s new literacy curriculum. I know that there will be a steep learning curve with this new curriculum. It is overwhelming at times to think of teaching a brand new curriculum in reading. In spite of this fact, there are two aspects of the curriculum that make me really excited! I learned more about both of these areas during our training sessions.
#1- VOCABULARY USE
Each unit contains 3-5 overarching vocabulary words. These words are referred to over and over throughout the unit. Students have an opportunity to use them in their reading, writing, and conversations. The words are posted throughout the room and support rich language development. In addition, each differentiated reading group has several vocabulary words each week. These words are listed on a chart and will be color-coded by group and then posted in my classroom. Again, students will have the opportunity to use these words in their written language and oral communication. While I have always discussed new words and written words on the dry erase board for students to see, I have not had a systematic method for introducing and teaching vocabulary words. This curriculum provides that very opportunity and I am excited to see where it takes my students!
#2 COMPREHENSION STRATEGIES
The curriculum focuses on a comprehension strategy during whole group instruction AND small group instruction. All of the students will be working on the same comprehension skill such as determining importance or visualizing. This consistency throughout the classroom will allow for some excellent conversations between students during reading. It also will allow for the opportunity to integrate the reading comprehension skill into other curricular areas such as math and social studies. In the past, I have taught all of the comprehension skills, but the teaching has been done at different times depending upon what reading group a student is in. This new method of teaching comprehension strategies seems to be a more consistent, systematic approach to teaching comprehension and I looking forward to implementing it in my classroom.