KENMORE — St. John the Baptist School lives by the following mission statement: "We teach children to read, so that they may eventually read to learn - and hope that through this process, they develop a lifelong love of reading."
The two new reading programs unveiled at St. John the Baptist School are centered upon this tenet. Superkids was adopted by teachers in kindergarten through second grade, and Journeys by third through sixth grade. Both offer fictional and non-fictional texts that appeal to students and inspire them.
Lucie Bellittiere, the school's reading specialist, explained that the Superkids reading program is a holistic model, incorporating phonics, spelling, reading, writing and decoding skills for young learners.
"Good decoding skills help students become fluent readers, enabling more energy to be spent on comprehension rather than decoding words," Bellittiere said. "This produces a better reader."
The same engaging characters are featured throughout the kindergarten through second-grade program, which allows students to relate to them as familiar friends. "In choosing our reading program, we found that the Superkids characters and their adventures motivate students, because they're able to relate to the characters that they're reading about," added Bellittiere.
Additionally, non-fiction pieces, such as informational magazine articles, are infused into the series in an engaging and meaningful way to broaden the reader's repertoire.
Students entering grades three to six are utilizing the Journeys reading program, which likewise uses a comprehensive approach to reading and writing using both fiction and non-fiction excerpts. Drawing from high-interest stories, the program builds on the previous skills presented in Superkids. Students are challenged to the next level and to incorporate higher level thinking strategies to analyze texts and complete tasks.
Bellittiere indicated that the home component of the series was key in choosing the series.
"The parent portal allows parents to access resources at home. Having parents involved and informed is a terrific way for them to partner with our teachers in order to further their child's learning. There are also interactive activities and games that focus on specific skills and concepts. Having this at-home piece is truly invaluable because it solidifies the learning that occurs in the classroom - and as students become more capable and confident, they will ultimately develop that lifelong love of reading," she said.