RATIONALE, DESCRIPTION, AND PURPOSE
Basic to a student’s education is the ability to read, write, speak, and listen. These cornerstones allow students to clearly, strategically, critically, and creatively convey their thinking. The National Council of Teachers of English emphasizes the interconnectedness of content, purpose, and development in creating learner-centered classrooms. The content dimension addresses what students should know and be able to do with the English language arts. This includes knowledge of texts in a variety of print and multimedia forms, and the corresponding processes involved in creating, interpreting, and critiquing such texts. The purpose dimension addresses the question of why language is used; it considers the range of motives, reasons, and desired outcomes of literacy practices. The development dimension focuses on how learners accumulate competencies in the language arts. Students grow as language users by building knowledge of content, a repertoire of strategies, and the ability to flexibly apply these competencies to multiple literacy learning modalities.
The K-5 English language arts curriculum is aligned to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards for English Language Arts. As such, the Curriculum establishes a “staircase” of increasing complexity in what students are expected to read and compose. The key components of a balanced literacy program are delivered through a workshop framework. Instruction is aimed at concurrently building student capacity in the acquisition and application of foundational reading skills, developing comprehension across a wide range of literary and informational texts, crafting written and spoken outputs of thinking, productively engaging in collaborative discussions, and developing dexterity in appropriately utilizing the conventions of standard English.