Kindergarten ELA


The language arts block of instruction is divided into five major components: 1) Phonics, Spelling, and Penmanship, 2) Reading, 3) Literature, 4) Grammar and Composition, and 5) Poetry and Sayings.


Kindergarten through Grade 2 ELA provides the foundation to all subject areas as it provides a foundation in the arts of language. The goal is to introduce students to the most fundamental units of language and for them to develop basic proficiency in reading and writing, such that basic encoding and decoding are relatively seamless skills. We also introduce them to the structure of storytelling and artistic examples of language, developing their aesthetic sense and moral imagination. Kindergarten begins with the introduction of phonograms and the proper positioning of the pencil and Grade 2 ends with reading, retelling, and discussing several children’s novels.

The language arts block of instruction is divided into five major components: 1) Phonics, Spelling, and Penmanship, 2) Reading, 3) Literature, 4) Grammar and Composition, and 5) Poetry and Sayings.

In Kindergarten, students explore the most fundamental units of language: the phoneme and its written representation, the phonogram. Understanding how letters and sounds make up words is the first step in understanding and commanding language.

The goal is to foster a delight in the order of language and to develop a command of the spoken word while building basic mastery of the written word. By the end of Kindergarten, students should be able to

  • see the connection between the written and spoken word,
  • read and write most common words, using proper print,
  • speak in complete sentences with proper conventions,
  • and to begin to decode sentences and read basic primers.

Through literature and poetry, students are exposed to great narratives and examples of artistic language that engage their natural sense of wonder. They engage in imitation through retelling stories and memorizing and reciting poetry and nursery rhymes.

Phonics, Spelling, and Penmanship

The teacher uses specific guided instruction to train students in phonics, decoding, and spelling skills through the Spalding method as articulated in The Writing Road to Reading, all toward the end of understanding words in their written and spoken form.

Throughout the first semester, students are introduced to phonemic awareness by learning to segment, count, and blend 1-2 syllable words in the first semester and 4-5-letter words in the second semester. They will learn to hear and reproduce beginning, ending, and medial sounds in 2-6-letter words. Phonemic awareness is also integrated into poetry studies through the exploration of rhyming words.

Students are introduced to systematic phonics by learning all 70 phonograms, syllabication, vowel/consonant recognition and moving on to word Ayres word lists A-H from the Spalding curriculum. Pronunciation and spelling rules are emphasized in order to increase student understanding and ability to read simple sentences.

Students in Kindergarten are introduced to manuscript letters (upper and lower case) and numbers using the six letter strokes (including clock and line letters). They are also taught and coached on proper pencil grip and paper slant.

  • Unit 1: Single Letter Phonograms (45 Lessons)
  • Unit 2: Multiple Letter Phonograms and List A-G (96 Lessons)
  • Unit 3: List H (39 Lessons)


Kindergarten provides a range of literary works, including classic fairy tales, fables, folk tales, and longer works of literature read aloud throughout the year. While encountering these texts, students practice story comprehension, understand literary elements (such as the role of the author, the plot, the illustrations, and the setting), and discuss characters and their decisions.

As students encounter literature through listening or reading, they should practice aural comprehension skills. However, the mechanical skills of reading are not the primary objective in this course of study – rather, students should be guided toward a sense of literary structure, artistic use of language, the role of illustration, and a consideration of the human experience.

There are three ways in which students can encounter the text of literature in elementary grades: as a Read-Aloud, a Read-Along, or a Read-Alone. Students in grades K-2 always encounter texts as a Read-Aloud or a Read-Along. The teacher reads to or with the students and guides them through Socratic discussion of simple literary elements such as plot, character, and setting. For Core Literature texts, students will have a copy of the text at their desks and will follow along in their books, decoding as they are able, as the teacher reads aloud.

  • Unit 1: Folktales and Picture Books (36 Lessons)
  • Unit 2: Tall Tales, Fables, and Legends (36 Lessons)
  • Unit 3: Fairy Tales (36 Lessons)
  • Unit 4: Children’s Literature (36 Lessons)

Grammar and Composition

Grammar instruction is aimed primarily at the proper use of language though builds awareness of the structure of language – especially at the sentence level. With a priority given to phonics and spelling, Kindergarten students spend less time on formal grammar and composition than other grade levels do. The primary goal of grammar instruction at this grade level is proper oral use of grammar, specifically speaking in complete sentences.

In addition, students engage exploratory conversations around nouns, adjectives, and action verbs. For this category, formal vocabulary is not emphasized – rather, students begin to observe patterns of “naming words”, “describing words”, and “action words”. Student finish the year recognizing different kinds sentences (statements, questions, and commands). Exposure, rather than mastery, is the goal at this level. Through copywork, students practice proper written conventions of basic capitalization, dates, telephone numbers, and punctuation (end marks, basic comma usage, and quotation marks).

Students will do basic copywork in neat manuscript of 4-8 word sentences and basic sentence dictation of 4-6 words. Whenever possible, the sentences for discussion are to be well-constructed sentences from familiar classic literature, history, and science texts with which the students are familiar. Finally, students will practice verbal narration of short stories read aloud and illustrations and will copy up to one sentence of a teacher-generated summary.

  • Unit 1: Introduction to Narration (16 Lessons)
  • Unit 2: Introduction to Copywork and Naming Words (Nouns) (20 Lessons)
  • Unit 3: Adjectives and Using Pronouns (36 Lessons)
  • Unit 4: Using Verbs and Prepositions (36 Lessons)
  • Unit 5: Types of Sentences and Punctuation (36 Lessons)

Poetry and Sayings

Discussing, memorizing, and reciting poetry engages the students’ natural sense of wonder, not only about the poem’s content, but the words carefully chosen by the poet. The students’ ears will be trained to the musicality of poetry and their minds to the meaning. Throughout the year, students will delight in language as they discover its many facets and how it can be used to beautifully convey truths of the human condition and the world.

In addition, students will gain further appreciation for the English language by memorizing, discussing, and illustrating various core sayings – expressions that represent linguistic and cultural nuances unique to our tradition.

Students listen to, discuss, memorize, illustrate, and recite poems throughout the year. They explore rhythm and rhyme and will practice accuracy and fluency in their expression as well as practicing being a good audience during recitations

  • Unit 1: Traditional Nursery Rhymes (44 Lessons)
  • Unit 2: Songs and Ballads (28 Lessons)
  • Unit 3: Simple Actions (32 Lessons)
  • Unit 4: Weather (20 Lessons)
  • Unit 5: Final Poems (20 Lessons)
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