Language Arts

Reading Philosophy Statement

Saint Ambrose of Woodbury Catholic School promotes literacy through the dynamic interrelationship among reading, writing, speaking and listening. It is our responsibility as stewards of young Christian minds to provide a strong, solid foundation using a balanced and structured approach.

The Saint Ambrose of Woodbury Catholic School reading curriculum promotes the concept that reading is the vital process of interpreting meaning from the written word through the interaction of the reader’s experience, skills and knowledge base. Through sequential growth, readers will develop the necessary skills and strategies to allow them to read fluently. We recognize the value of reading as a life-long learning tool. The curriculum cultivates an appreciation of the aesthetic value of literature, as well as the skills needed for critical analysis.

K-2 Language Arts

In the early elementary grades, phonics will be incorporated directly into the reading program Into Reading by Houghton Mifflin. This program blends a strong phonics foundation with a rich literature experience, providing a balanced approach to reading and language arts. Grammar, punctuation and spelling lessons are embedded in the reading series. This program establishes a strong basis in which children will learn to read, write, speak and listen. Early focus on writing as a process gives students the chance to learn how to express, organize and finally edit their ideas.

Powered by the Catholic Schools Center of Excellence (CSCOE) and in partnership with Groves Academy, a national leader in literacy instruction, Believe and Read is a three-year initiative that brings Groves Academy’s methodology to Saint Ambrose through outstanding professional development and teacher coaching. Our goal is to ensure that every student at our school reads at or above grade level.

How Believe and Read works:

  • In addition to building students’ vocabulary and comprehension skills through their regular reading lesson, teachers will be incorporating a daily 30-minute phonics-based lesson to ensure students are grasping the reading rules they’ll need to achieve fluency.
  • In addition, these lessons use a multisensory approach that explicitly teaches the connections between letters and sounds.
  • Our teachers will also get weekly support and feedback from their literacy coach, along with assistance in tracking student progress through routine assessments.
  • Believe and Read programming also implements direct instruction of handwriting – Manuscript in grades K-1 and Cursive beginning in grade 2.

Grades 3-5 Language Arts

In the 3rd-5th grades we continue to teach writing as a process, allowing students to develop their own ideas while honing their writing skills. Into Reading, a Houghton Mifflin reading series embeds phonics, writing skills, study strategies, spelling and grammar content within the reading curriculum. Spelling, grammar, and mechanics are reinforced via mini-lessons during writing process instruction. Teachers will be reinforcing the use of cursive handwriting throughout the grade levels.

Grades 6-8 Language Arts

Students in grades 6-8 will attend English class every day as one of their six core subjects. Students will be working from the Into Reading (HMH) program. This program emphasizes writing as a process, speaking and listening including language mechanics (grammar), as well as written and oral expression Students in the junior high program will be learning and practicing all forms of writing (creative, expository, poetry, argumentative, etc.). These students will also be working on both research and public speaking skills.

At the junior high level, there is a shift from a spelling program to a vocabulary program. The vocabulary program is designed to include proper spelling as a component, but also emphasizes a word’s context as a part of speech and its application in proper usage.

Scroll to Top