Our Reading Program: Love of reading is the key to an enlightened, learned life. Westland’s approach to literacy begins with a regard for each child’s language skills, personal experience, intellectual ability, and social and emotional development. Before entering kindergarten, most children are familiar with words and letters because of an abundance of language in the home, from bedtime stories to cell phone conversations overheard in the car. Such previous experience contributes to a child’s conceptual understanding as well as ability to use the spoken word and grasp auditory and visual differences—all used in learning to read.
Our teachers employ a variety of strategies to assess and support children as they transition from oral to written language. Because our social studies base provides for such broad and exciting avenues of study, there is rich opportunity for diverse language arts activities within each group.
The youngest children at Westland use reading and language skills as they explore nature and reenact home and community life through dramatic play. They listen to and dramatize stories, share picture books, observe adults reading, and work cooperatively to complete language-related tasks.
As the children grow, they explore and appreciate a variety of literary styles and genres. Vocabulary development, research skills, reading for specific facts, and sharpening comprehension prepare older students for language mastery.
The Westland writing program is a natural and complementary extension of the reading program. Beginning writers are encouraged to express their thoughts and stories verbally and through dictation. This leads them to early attempts to write on their own, using their own spelling as they express their thoughts in print. Emphasis on creativity continues as writing skills develop and children learn to incorporate conventional spelling and grammar into their work. These skills are developed through instruction and experience with creative stories, poetry, book reports, and research-based writing.
Westland students develop strong literacy skills. They are well equipped to become effective discussion and project leaders, thinkers, persuasive writers, creative artists, researchers, and expressive, confident community members.