Academics » Elementary School Literacy

Elementary School Literacy

 Literacy is the critical foundation for all students in all subjects. At Hiawatha Academies, we teach phonics — the building blocks of reading — in grades K-3 alongside rich content where students can practice with relevant texts and develop academic language skills. Starting in grade 4, students shift from learning to read into reading to learn.

Hiawatha Academies commits to building students’ deep authentic literacy through: 

  • Explicit foundational literacy skills
  • Regular practice with complex text and its academic language 
  • Grounding writing and speaking in textual evidence 
  • Building knowledge through content-rich instruction 
  • College-ready written expression as ultimate indicator of student mastery across content areas

Reading and ELA Curriculum

Students in K-3rd grade receive phonics instruction for 45 minutes every day, using the Groves Literacy Framework. Hiawatha Academies uses EL Education curriculum in grades K-8th grade. Hiawatha Collegiate High School scholars take both Literature and Writing & Composition courses each school year. This continuum of learning experiences prepares scholars for the rigors of college level writing, an essential benchmark of post secondary readiness.

Equity and Literacy: Teaching the Code

Hiawatha Academies’ phonics instruction is grounded in our equity vision. Across our nation, nearly 1 in 3 students are denied basic literacy skills, and 2 of 3 are denied authentic literacy skills, meaning with good comprehension of text (National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2017). We believe phonics instruction — “teaching the code” — is necessary to undoing the legacy of anti-literacy practices and ensuring all scholars are authentic readers by 3rd grade. 

For students who are English Language Learners, we WIDA Access – an assessment of English Language Proficiency – to inform our instructional practices. Classroom lessons include language and content standards to support the acquisition of academic language.

Lacey Robinson explains why teaching the code is critical for teaching students to read and disrupting systemic inequity: