Students are provided with daily, individualized reading instruction. Licensed reading and special education teachers provide one-on-one instruction to develop close and attentive reading, utilizing high-quality children’s literature and informational texts that the students find motivating. Skill building in vocabulary, fluency, sentence structure, clarification, retelling, and summarization receive special attention during this concentrated reading session.
Language and Literature
The Language and Literature program fosters the development of language skills necessary for oral and written expression. The Story Grammar Marker® narrative maps and ThemeMaker® expository graphic organizers facilitate students’ comprehension and organization of stories and content area information. Lessons are created in accordance with the Massachusetts Frameworks for English/Language Arts incorporating the Common Core State Standards and are integrated with other subject areas. Instruction also includes reinforcement of phonemic awareness, decoding and encoding strategies, grammar skills, vocabulary development, mental imagery, and word retrieval cueing necessary for precise language expression.
Science and Social Studies
Student proficiency in information gathering, concept development, and practical application of knowledge is the focus. The primary strategies integrated throughout these areas include reciprocal teaching (prediction, reading, requests for clarification, test question formulation, and summarization), mental imagery, and Story Grammar Marker® and ThemeMaker® graphic organizers. These strategies work in concert with the practices advocated by Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks incorporating the Common Core State Standards, which include descriptive listing, cause/effect and problem/solution relationships, compare/contrast questions, and persuade/argue.
The mathematics curriculum encompasses the skills, concepts, and processes involved in gaining an in-depth understanding of mathematics. Word problems are an integral component of the program, and manipulatives are utilized to foster the visualization of the concepts necessary to solve those questions. Because many language learning-disabled students encounter difficulties with retrieval, memory, and retention, teacher-made materials and study guides offer consistent review and re-teaching of difficult concepts, as well as reinforcement.
Pragmatics and Social Thinking®
The Pragmatics program focuses on specific social/communication skills necessary for the successful development of interpersonal relationships. On a basic level, students receive direct instruction in the communicative aspects of language, such as intonation, turn taking, eye contact, topic maintenance, and conversational repair, all of which are aspects of the Health Frameworks. Students participate in activities and role-play to identify positive and negative uses of pragmatics in various social situations. This instructional model is critical in developing self-advocacy, conflict resolution, and empathetic communication skills in all areas of life.
The Social Thinking® curriculum, which provides more explicit instruction in the unwritten social expectancies that are necessary for class and peer interactions, is designed to facilitate the kinds of thinking strategies that must occur for successful social interactions. Students are educated as to how their behavior affects the way others perceive and respond to them and how this then affects their own emotions and responses to others. In order to foster peer relationships, classes focus on perspective taking (the ability to infer the feeling and pain of others), adjusting nonverbal messages to meet the communication needs of others, and learning to follow the conversational topics of others. Our goal is for students to be able to better adapt and respond to the people and situations around them.