The Lower School’s Five Star Reading Program continuously and appropriately challenges 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.

Our unique combination of best-practice reading techniques is proven through the success our students have in Middle School and Upper School. Key aspects of our 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…

  • 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 Coach, 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.