District 25 utilizes a balanced literacy approach to cultivate proficient readers and writers. This comprehensive approach encompasses all the necessary elements for students to master written and oral communication. Our kindergarten through fifth-grade classroom instruction includes interactive read-alouds, literature discussions, shared reading, performance reading, phonics, spelling, word study, independent reading, small group instruction, oral communication, technological communication, and writing. Our sixth through eighth-grade language arts classroom instruction includes interactive read-alouds, literature discussions, close reading, spelling, grammar, vocabulary strategies, independent reading, small group instruction, oral communication, technological communication, and writing. Students in all grades are exposed to a range of increasingly complex literature and informational texts and tasks.
Illinois adopted the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts in 2010, which are now referred to as the Illinois Learning Standards. District 25 schools have successfully aligned the new Illinois Learning Standards into their curricula and continue to refine instructional practices to improve student achievement and prepare students for lifelong success.
The Illinois Learning Standards for English Language Arts establish clear and coherent expectations for what students should know and be able to do at each grade level. The Illinois Learning Standards for English Language Arts ensures students are provided a comprehensive understanding of key concepts.
District 25 reading instruction is designed to develop students' ability to:
- Identify key ideas, themes, and topics in text;
- Ask and answer questions as they interact with text and construct meaning;
- Use prior knowledge and textual information to draw conclusions, make predictions, and form interpretations;
- Synthesize important textual information with existing knowledge to summarize what was read and form new ideas and opinions;
- Find the meaning of unfamiliar words and broaden their range of academic and curriculum specific vocabulary;
- Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support research, analysis, and reflection;
- Use various text and genre features to identify important information and construct meaning; and;
- Read closely from a wide range of texts in order to gain deeper understanding meaning, and/ or knowledge.
Our kindergarten through fifth grade classrooms implement a reading workshop model completing five reading units of study. These units of study are as follows: Launching, Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry, and Content Literacy. Teaching materials include Schoolwide Reading Fundamentals Units of Study, Independent Classroom Libraries, Guided Reading Libraries and Digital Resources.
Our sixth through eighth grade classrooms utilize McDougal Littell Literature and teacher selected novels for reading instruction.
District 25 writing instruction is designed to develop students' ability to:
- Identify and experiment with various forms and purposes for writing;
- Use their own experiences and areas of interest to generate ideas for writing
- Conduct research using several sources;
- Elaborate on ideas and develop topics with relevant facts and details;
- Draft a well-organized piece of writing that follows clear structure and employs technical features;
- Read like a writer, analyzing text structures, features, and craft elements;
- Strengthen writing through revising and editing techniques; and;
- Collaborate with peers, share ideas, and support one another as writers.
Our first through fifth grade classrooms utilize Being a Writer. This curriculum provides a full year of research-based whole-class writing instruction for grades 1-5. Using a workshop model, the Being a Writer program teaches the writing process while developing intrinsic motivation for the craft of writing through immersion in the narrative, informational, and opinion/argumentative writing genres. Instruction encourages students to write regularly with passion and intent as it builds an understanding of and appreciation for the skills and conventions of writing.
Our kindergarten classrooms utilize a variety of resources to teach our youngest learners. The foundational skills taught include the following: letter formation, sight words, sentence writing, interactive writing, story writing, and informational writing.
Our middle school classrooms utilize The Writers’ Express (WEX) for writing instruction. Areas of focus include response to nonfiction, response to fiction and personal narrative.
The Writers’ Express curriculum tracks each student’s progress through the carefully selected sequence of skills, using a cycle of daily, low-stakes practice assessments with targeted, authentic feedback. This method allows students to work at their own pace, moving back and forth between technical skills and expressive abilities to develop distinctive writing voices with The WEX® Method.
THE WEX METHOD
Each building in District 25 has a literacy interventionist to support struggling readers and writers. Students who participate in literacy intervention are identified using district assessment criteria. They participate in small group instruction using engaging leveled books. Systematically designed lessons empower students as they work toward attaining reading and writing proficiency.
Advanced Language Arts
We identify students for Advanced Language Arts in the spring of fifth grade. Advanced Language Arts classes are offered in sixth through eighth grade. For additional information on the advanced language arts placement process, please select the Advanced Language Arts Placement page.