The Foundation of Learning – Reading / ELA

From KG to 8th Grade during the school year, I will ask the students a basic education question: What is the fastest way to get smarter?  The answer is a simple one word answer. It’s four letters begins with an “R,” ends in a “D,” and has two vowels in the middle. Got the answer?

It’s READ!

All academic learning starts with mastery of reading and language. Our English Language Arts (ELA) classes encompass many facets: Reading, Writing, Grammar, Vocabulary, Spelling, Listening, Speaking, Library and Research Skills. Once students begin to master these skills, they can start to understand the content and concepts found in all of our other subjects – religion, math/problem solving, science, and social studies: Add the Specials (music, art, Spanish, gym and technology) and you have a well-rounded curriculum.

During our ELA class work (double periods during the school day,) our students are provided with:

  • A strong commitment to vocabulary building
  • Reading Circle, Literature Circle and Writer’s Workshop programs from our ELA teachers,  with help from Mrs. Jill  D’Agostino (reading/writing support in lower grades,) Mrs. Jackie  Sevag (reading /writing support in upper grades,) and many parent volunteers.
  • Interdisciplinary work as teachers use assigned books that can relate to areas such as Social Studies and collaborate within the curriculum.

Scholastic Book Fair

The Scholastic Book Fair held last week, besides raising funds for our library needs, creates community with our Grandparents/Special Friends Day. It also raises awareness of the importance of reading. A huge thank you for so many volunteers who helped Jill make the week so successful. Special thanks to Dawn Ryan who did so much to support the Book Fair.  There is no doubt that our strong reading test scores in the Terra Nova Standardized test is a direct result of all our efforts to make reading/language arts a huge priority in school.

Guest Author Visit 

Another program here at SKS are our author visits from local writers who inspire a love of reading and writing in our students.

Mrs. Ellen Labrecque, a published author of dozens of children’s books, is the aunt of SKS students Zach and David Peck.  Ellen visited with grades 3, 4 and 5 in the SKS Parish Center on Wednesday, October 18th. She has written dozens of informational children’s books and also writes for the popular Who Was series.  Ellen has generously donated many of her books over the years to our SKS library. During her visit, Mrs. Labrecque shared her experience as a nonfiction author and inspired students to discover the past through biographies. You can check out the Who Was series online at


Reading Olympics

Our 5th and 6th graders will participate in the Reading Olympics program again this year. This is a strong reading program/competition run by teachers Jill D’Agostino and Alexa Stefan that supports, promotes, and encourages the love of reading. You will hear more about the Reading Olympics later in the year and program information is listed on the website under Activities.

DAR Writing Contest

For the last several years our 7th and 8th grades have participated in the Daughters of the American Revolution Writing Contest. This is a full scale research assignment that combines the skills a student has built upon from prior years. This year the 8th grade will write their research paper (complete with footnotes, citations, and bibliographies) on The 100th Anniversary of World War l. 

Thanks for reading!

Take care,