In kindergarten through fifth grades MCA uses the Core Knowledge Language Arts (CKLA) program. Our school has a long-standing relationship with the Core Knowledge Foundation, which was founded by Dr. E.D. Hirsch. Our CKLA program integrates two instructional strands for K-2 that work together to instill both background knowledge and foundational skills. These integrate into a single strand in grades three and five. In teaching reading our primary goal is that our students decode meaning, not just letters or symbols, as efficiently and effectively as possible.
The Knowledge Strand
The listening and learning strand builds students’ knowledge and vocabulary while they are still learning to read, which is crucial for long-term success. At the heart of this strand are authentic fiction and nonfiction texts that teachers read aloud. These texts are grouped in knowledge domains that create interactive opportunities to question, discuss, and share ideas centered on text. This strand ensures students are well-prepared when they transition from learning to read to reading to learn.
The Skills Strand
The skills strand teaches reading and writing in tandem. These lessons support reading and foundational skills through daily instruction in phonemic
awareness, spelling patterns, decoding texts, writing mechanics, and writing structure and process. To enrich our writing instruction, our modified version of 6+1 Trait Writing captures the qualities of good writing, provides common vocabulary for instruction, sets requisites, and allows students to become self-evaluators. This seven-part framework consists of ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions, and presentation. Our teachers wield it skillfully, prioritizing, focusing, and individualizing our writing instruction.
If you’d like to learn more about CKLA, please visit their website.