New Century’s reading, writing and English language arts instruction correlates to Common Core State Standards. The instructional scope and sequence is comprehensive for grades 2 through 10. Based on Diagnostic Assessments, students receive a lesson path tailored to their individual needs across 17 strands of Reading, English Language Arts, and Writing skills, beginning with phonics and ending with effective essays.
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Reading Beginning with phonics through early reading levels, aural instruction accompanies the on-screen content, pronouncing letters and combinations of sounds, as well as reading passages as a teacher would. As a result, even English Language Learners develop pronunciation and inflection skills.
New Century provides selected works from world literature, including well recognized authors across multi-cultural backgrounds. Reading selections are also taken from history, geography, and science to develop cross-curricular connections. Reading passages are automatically assigned based on the student’s proficiency level, and progress in the student’s developing skills. Lessons typically begin by introducing students to new vocabulary and words with multiple definitions are placed in context with graphics and aural instruction to help students build word pronunciation and usage skills. Using Close Reading, passages are divided into subsections from which the student is asked to respond to questions to confirm his comprehension, including main idea and inference, before moving to the next section of the passage.
Feedback, including aural instruction, is provided to the student after each response, confirming success or providing guidance if necessary. Content within the lesson is branched into additional developmental instruction for struggling students and accelerated for those quickly developing comprehension skills or mastering English Language Arts concepts. Repetition of aural instruction is available on demand to assist students in reading passages. As student skills develop, the lessons provide less aural instruction and increasingly require the student to read the passages or short stories independently and confirm comprehension by responding to sample items.
Embedded Interim Assessments, including Mastery Tests, confirm a student’s mastery of reading skills at increasingly difficult levels. The software will assign further remedial lessons to help build a struggling student back to the level of proficiency needed to pass the Mastery Test.
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English Language Arts includes strands of lessons on spelling, structural analysis, mechanics, and grammar. In addition, students learn the elements of poetry. English language arts lessons are embedded with the reading lessons at appropriate levels to help students develop these skills in parallel with increasing mastery of text. English Language Arts skills are further re-enforced in the writing curriculum.
The Writing Curriculum can be separated from the reading/ELA curriculum, but otherwise, writing lessons will be embedded with the reading curriculum. Writing lessons include Process Writing, Contemporary Tools, Effective Communication, and Effective Essays. Process Writing and Contemporary Tools are lessons that teach the use of critical word processing functions, the organization of thoughts to effective writing, and the drafting and editing of works. Effective Communication lessons teach students to avoid common problems in writing and require students to prepare short passages, beginning with simple sets of instructions, including the use of logic. Peer readers (assigned by the teacher) are guided in providing feedback to check the original student’s ability to communicate effectively. Lessons in the Effective Essays series develop students’ skills in researching and writing essays the three types of essays required under Common Core State Standards. Other students serve as peer evaluators and are guided in providing feedback to the originating student. The teacher is alerted when originating students continue to struggle with writing assignments.
As with Math, lessons are designed to help teachers work with students who continue to struggle with a particular skill. Teachers are alerted and may access and review with the student any sample passages, ELA, or Writing skills from the lesson with which the student had trouble. This “teaching moment” can be used to address a student with the additional, personal attention he may need with the skill.