English Language Arts.


Our Core Literacy Program

WHIN takes a balanced literacy approach and will use EL Education’s K-5 English Language Arts curriculum, which is a comprehensive, standards-based core literacy program that engages teachers and students through compelling, real-world content.

ELA Curriculum

Each day, students engage in rigorous and joyful literacy learning at WHIN. The core literacy program will be EL Education’s K-5 English Language Arts curriculum. The program rests on the following three academic pillars: Mastery of Skills, Habits of Character, and High-quality Student Work. Additionally, the ELA program has the following key, rigorous features:


Explicitly teaches and formally assesses all standards and strands of the new English Language Arts standards.


Students read, think, talk and write about meaningful topics.

Social-Emotional Learning

The ELA curriculum fosters social-emotional learning through the integration of the WHIN Ways of Being.


The ELA curriculum challenges and engages all students. It includes supports for English Language Learners, students not meeting grade level standards, and extensions for students ready for more challenge.


The ELA curriculum fosters collaboration and rich student discourse.


Program Components

At WHIN, students receive 120-150 minutes of literacy instruction daily that incorporates reading, writing, speaking, listening, and foundational skills instruction. Each unit centers around a compelling topic, and students engage in project-based learning, integrating all of their literacy skills. Here are the major components of the the literacy program.

Module Lessons

There are four modules a year, and in these module lessons, students build important content knowledge based on a compelling topic related to science, social studies, or literature. Each module uses rich, authentic texts throughout. Students work on mastering the reading, writing, language, and speaking and listening standards for the grade level. These lessons are one hour each day.

Skills Block

This daily one-hour block uses a structured phonics approach, grounded in the Phase Theory of Dr. Linnea Ehri, which describes behavior related to the types of letter-sound connections students are able to make as they learn to read and write. The block is meant to ensure that, by the end of second grade, students acquire the depth of skills they need in the Reading Foundations standards to navigate grade-level text independently. The lessons and assessments explicitly address the Reading Foundations standards, as well as some Language standards associated with spelling and letter formation. Each lesson is divided into two major chunks: Whole group instruction (15-20 minutes) and Differentiated small group instruction (40-45 minutes). Teachers meet with two to three small groups each day to meet the needs of readers.

Independent Work Time

In both the Module lessons and Skills block lessons, students work independently on reading and writing skills, accountable independent reading, fluency work, and word work.

Read Aloud

Students will engage in read aloud opportunities each day. Vocabulary instruction is embedded into module lessons and read aloud sessions.


Several times a week, students will engage in Labs. Labs are an important component of the ELA curriculum. Labs allow for additional student learning in the module topic. Also, they are designed to help teachers ensure all of their students have the opportunity to play, explore, be immersed in oral language and content, and practice social skills that they need to be joyful and successful and proficient in reading and writing. they deepen students’ learning on the module topic. The five labs are: Engineer, Explore, Research, Create, and Imagine.

Benchmark Assessments

To ensure all our students are reaching English Language Arts benchmarks, track progress, and differentiate for student needs, students will be tested in their reading skills four times a year using the Strategic Teaching and Evaluation of Progress (STEP) assessment. STEP is a research-based assessment developed by the University of Chicago. STEP assesses children’s literacy skills and provides key data to teachers to develop students’ reading development through a 13-level system toward reading proficiency. This assessment is administered individually to students, and typical growth of three steps is expected within a school year.

Summative Assessments

In the EL ELA curriculum, each module comprises of three units with unit assessments. The unit assessments provide teachers with information on how to best meet students’ needs. At the end of a module, there is a summative performance task, in which students apply their learning to a new context and share their learning with the rest of the class.

Formative Assessments

Teachers use observational checklists that correlate to the skills and standards to gauge student understanding during lessons. Moreover, student work and snapshot assessments from lessons are additional pieces of information that grade teams and the DCI use to analyze student understanding and target whole group, small group, or individual instruction.

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