Reading & Writing
At Cornerstone, we are building a bridge between reading and writing. We focus on reading strategies that help students develop a mastery of decoding and comprehension skills. By using a systematic approach to phonics, our students develop word knowledge which moves them toward conventional spelling. Students are also taught the process or craft of writing. From developing ideas to celebrating and publishing their final drafts, they encounter new lenses to explore their awareness of the world and a passion for writing. As of Fall 2012, all of our lower school teachers will be trained in the Orton-Gillingham
method (a multi-sensory educational approach to language arts).
Cornerstone is proud to have both lower school and middle school writing specialists that work with all students in grades 1-8. Angie Rodgers and Helen West have come to us with years of experience that will enhance the writing program. Both Mrs. Rodgers and Mrs. West are excited about continuing the writing curriculum begun at Cornerstone by their esteemed predecessor, Ms. Gail Davis. The Middle School writing initiative will complement our lower school writing program and solidify our foothold as one of the leaders among schools in our area in creating great readers and writers.
Using a writing workshop approach, students in Cornerstone’s lower school are exposed to a wide range of literature while developing specific traits, techniques, and strategies that will allow them to gain success as writers. Students share their ideas, provide helpful feedback, and encourage each other toward creative expression. While taking them step-by-step through the complex writing process, Mrs. Rodgers approaches teaching writing through coaching students, nurturing their hard work, celebrating their creativity.
Our Middle School writing initiative is a building process across the grade levels. In 5th and 6th grades, students learn to craft fiction and non-fiction compositions and employ the components of writing organization and style. 7th and 8th grade writing emphasizes persuasive and expository essay forms. In all grades, students will learn how to begin their writing with a lead, write clear topic sentences, provide logical explanations and detailed support, employ transitions, and end with a conclusion that leaves the reader engaged. Elements of style, including strong verbs, literary devices, figurative language, imagery, and tone will equip Cornerstone students for high school writing and beyond. Mrs. West’s desire is that her students would understand and apply Proverbs 25:11: “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”
“If I had known the quality of education was going to be this good, I never would have looked at any other school.”
— First Grade Parent