Language and Literacy
Language in all of its manifestations lies at the heart of the Princeton Friends School curriculum. Throughout every day at school and across the grade levels, reading, writing, listening, and speaking are fully integrated across the subject areas and woven into every child’s daily activity. Most important, across the language arts curriculum, individual voice is honored as students are offered choice in their independent reading and literature selections, in the topics and genres they pursue in writing workshop, and in the stories they choose to learn during Storytelling Week. It is this voice that Princeton Friends School students carry with them as they journey out into the world.
Princeton Friends School students read actively for comprehension and pleasure. Beginning in the third grade – after an initial time of shared reading within advisory groups – literature study is conducted in mixed-aged groups that are created as students select (with parent and advisor guidance) from a list. In these shared reading groups, students receive instruction in close reading techniques and the formal elements of a text, and they practice age-appropriate comprehension, recall, and interpretive skills. Through regular and ongoing class discussion students are asked to respond to the texts they read, to support the opinions they put forth, to listen to the viewpoints of others, and to hold multiple interpretations simultaneously. Culminating projects provide students with an opportunity to synthesize ideas and themes from their literature selections in personally meaningful ways.
Literacy is also woven into all aspects of the curriculum through course-related reading of nonfiction material. In Central Study, U.S. History, and Science classes particularly, reading assignments are selected that will further students’ understanding of the content of the course and reinforce concepts introduced in class. In addition, through exposure to written instructions in a variety of contexts – from math lessons and Problem of the Week instructions to directions in language arts workbooks, students across the grades practice learning from the written word and develop the ability to process and follow directions.