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English Language Arts

Elementary English Language Arts

The Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for English Language Arts are crafted around guiding principles that underlie the standards and resources used in Hopkinton’s classrooms grades K-5. Units of study at each grade level in Hopkinton’s elementary schools are built on these eleven basic principles.

Guiding Principles for English Language Arts and Literacy Programs

Guiding Principle 1: Students should receive explicit instruction in skills, including phonics and decoding. Explicit skill instruction is especially important in narrowing opportunity gaps.

Guiding Principle 2:  To become successful readers, students need to develop a rich academic vocabulary and broad background knowledge.

Guiding Principle 3:  Educators should help students develop a love of reading by:

• Selecting high-quality works of literature and nonfiction.

• Reading aloud in class.

• Providing students with ample opportunity and encouragement for sustained   independent reading, both for school and on their own.

Guiding Principle 4: Students should be exposed to complex and challenging texts at their grade level and above, with extra support and scaffolding as needed, reflecting high expectations for all students.

Guiding Principle 5:  Students should read a diverse set of authentic texts balanced across genres, cultures, and time periods. Authentic texts are intact and unadapted texts in their original complexity; they are texts composed for purposes other than being studied in school.

Guiding Principle 6:  Students should have frequent opportunities for discussing and writing about their readings in order to develop critical thinking skills and to demonstrate understanding.

Guiding Principle 7:  Reading well-crafted texts is an essential foundation for developing effective writing skills.

Guiding Principle 8:  Developing the ability to write well demands regular practice across multiple forms and genres of writing and opportunities to write for a variety of audiences, including expository, analytical, persuasive, narrative, and creative writing, as well as explicit instruction in vocabulary and standard English conventions.

Guiding Principle 9:  Educators and families should view each other as resources who are both invested in supporting students’ skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Guiding Principle 10: Social and emotional learning can increase academic achievement, improve attitudes and behaviors, and reduce emotional distress. Students should practice recognizing aspects of themselves in texts (self-awareness), struggling productively with challenging texts (self-management), tailoring language to audience and purpose (social awareness), grappling vicariously with choices faced by others (responsible decision making), and collaborating respectfully with diverse peers (relationship skills).

Guiding Principle 11:  Educators should select works of fiction and nonfiction that instill in students a deep appreciation for art, beauty, and truth, while broadening their understanding of the human condition from differing points of view. Reading, discussing, and writing about high-quality prose and poetry should also help students develop empathy for one another and a sense of their shared values and literary heritage, while learning about who they are as individuals and developing the capacity for independent, rigorous thinking.