Reading and Language Arts

Reading and Language Arts

Our reading and language arts program inspires a love of literature and writing, and a respect for the power of words. Building strong reading, writing, and speaking skills, and employing them across disciplines, is central to Tilden’s goal of developing knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and confident scholars and communicators.


Continually building and solidifying basic skills in grammar, phonics, spelling, and vocabulary sets the groundwork for deeper and richer literacy work each year.

All students work at their own reading level, with continuity and close oversight provided by our lead reading teacher.

Our reading program utilizes a controlled vocabulary and is augmented with a rich variety of additional resources.

Our Word Card sight vocabulary program promotes independence in reading new words.

An increasingly deeper reading of literary text to explore plot, character development, setting, symbolism, theme, metaphor, as well as finding meaning through analysis and discussion, bring students’ relationships with literature alive.

Students’ craft in writing builds at each grade level, from concise, simple sentences in the primary grades to five- to seven-paragraph essays in the intermediate grades.

Kindergarten through fourth-grade students come together for Thursday Story Writing to discuss and write on a set topic to help students explore their personal experiences and voice.

Formal and informal speaking opportunities through speeches, reports, poetry reading, and dramatic performances help students develop strong content, voice, and delivery skills.

Students learn to use progressively more demanding technological formats for sharing and their work.



  • building literacy skills through songs, movement, games, and art
  • Letterland, an engaging, character-based phonics program
  • beginning printing with Handwriting Without Tears®

First Grade

  • more advanced Letterland and Handwriting Without Tears®
  • journal writing and personal dictionaries
  • storybook dramatizations

Second Grade

  • daily syllabification and sound card review
  • Macmillan Literature-Based Reading Activities spark discussions on setting, plot, character, and point of view
  • strengthening the connection between reading, writing, and thinking

Third Grade

  • Literature Appreciation and Analysis featuring deep study of novels in three different genres
  • book discussions and independent projects
  • RAH (Read At Home)
  • keyboarding and Handwriting Without Tears® cursive program

Fourth Grade

  • exploring character, setting, plot, point of view, theme, and mood in a variety literature genre
  • poetry and Greek mythology
  • writing well-developed paragraphs and essays
  • word processing and personal writing folders

Fifth Grade

  • mastering the six traits of quality writing: ideas and content, organization, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, and conventions
  • analyzing literary devices and using them in writing
  • Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey
  • dramatization of a Shakespearean play

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