Five Star Reading

Our Lower School's Five Star Reading Program gives your child a head start  in reading comprehension. We don't focus simply on the words on the page. We make a conscious effort to help your child understand what they are reading.

 Our teachers provide support as we build independent readers. Students work in small groups, focus on individual needs and develop reading strategies to continuously challenge themselves in their reading proficiency, vocabulary and critical thinking skills daily. They transition from learning to read to reading to learn.   

 Your child will figure out words they don't know, deal with difficult sentence structure and tackle concepts they've never seen before in print.  Children will learn to read a variety of texts with ease and deep understanding. The success of our Middle and Upper School students is a testament to how well this approach works in our Lower School. Our students are able to process increasingly challenging books with fluency and comprehension.   

We work on phonics strategies as well as listening, writing, spelling and reading through a practice called The Daily Five – reading to self, reading to others, listening to reading, writing and practicing vocabulary and spelling. We also enlist the help of our trained literary specialists, librarian and teaching assistants at every grade level. We offer a rich selection of children's books and allow your child to progressively select higher-level books to improve their skills. Our comprehensive strategy includes reflection, assessments, support and a low student-teacher ratio, so we can personalize each child’s learning.  

 Whether analyzing student growth data or reflecting upon anecdotal feedback we receive from Middle and Upper School teachers, we know our students maximize their reading potential in the Lower School.   

We continuously and appropriately challenge young readers so their reading proficiency, vocabulary and critical-thinking skills advance every day as they progress from learning to read to reading to learn.

Components of our reading program include:

Use of phonics strategies are essential in helping students sound out challenging words and connect the spoken sound to the written word.

The Daily Five
Children engage in The Daily Five™ which enhances the fluency with which children read and write. This system caters to students’ individual reading needs. Through this, children have frequent experiences in:

  • Reading to self
  • Reading to others
  • Listening to reading
  • Writing and
  • Practicing vocabulary and spelling work

Students engage in these strategies independently while the teacher and teaching assistant work with small groups of students on mini lessons specific to their needs.

Reading Reflection
Following the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project developed by noted literacy researcher Lucy Calkins at Columbia University, the Five Star Reading Program gives children time to reflect on what they read – relating the text to themselves, relating the text to other things they’ve read and relating the text to the world.

As our students develop the habit of taking time to reflect on what they read, they gain an appreciation that the act of reading is the act of exploring levels of meaning. Being able to understand these levels is the heart of being able to comprehend what has been read.

Children develop critical thinking strategies and become aware of how they think and learn as they maintain reading journals, explore reading genres and discuss what they have read with teachers and each other. Independence is emphasized so students become successful readers outside the classroom.

Frequent Assessments
The Five Star Reading Program calls for frequent assessment of reading ability during the year to gauge the progress of each child’s reading level and motivates children to want to select more challenging books. Understanding each child’s specific needs allows our teachers to target instruction and allows our students to be fully engaged in the books they are reading. Assessments help teachers incorporate a research-based educational model called Gradual Release of Responsibility. This classroom dynamic involves shifting responsibility for the learning process from the teacher to students as students become independent learners.

Personalized Support
A specially trained literacy assistant, librarian and teaching assistants at every grade level support students and faculty in a Lower School environment rich in reading materials. The Summit has invested in libraries of children’s books, including Rigby, Scholastic and others, that support the A-Z ranking scale used in the Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient that are often called Guided Reading levels. The ranking system assists students, teachers, parents and librarians in progressively selecting higher level books as a child’s reading skills improve.