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English Language Arts


The Long Beach Public Schools use a balanced literacy approach to teach English Language Arts (ELA) at the elementary level.  This approach incorporates a number of instructional methods that focus on student needs and develop skills by gradually releasing responsibility from the teacher to the learner.  Using a workshop model, teachers address students’ needs in reading and writing.  Ultimately, it is a comprehensive instructional approach to develop written and oral communication skills in the English language.

There are five “Big Ideas” in reading instruction that we address through our balanced literacy approach.  These ideas are phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.  Components of the reading workshop that support these five key skills are the read-aloud, shared reading, word study, guided reading, and independent reading.  Guided reading and independent reading, in particular, target student needs at their individual levels.

Our writing workshop develops students using similar components including modeled writing, shared writing, interactive writing, guided writing, and independent writing.  Students work through the writing process, which includes the stages of immersion, generating ideas, selecting an idea, collecting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing.  Again, the guided and independent writing components are designed around individual student needs.  

Students’ speaking and listening skills are developed throughout all the other elements of the balanced literacy classroom as students share thoughts and ideas during partner, small-group, and large group discussions.

In addition to our comprehensive balanced literacy approach outlined above, the Long Beach Public Schools implement a number of specific programs, assessments, and instructional methodologies to support the literacy acquisition of its students.  These include:

  • The Wilson Fundations® word study (phonemic awareness, phonics, spelling, handwriting, and vocabulary) program in grades K-2
  • Dedicated literacy blocks in the classroom
  • Leveled independent reading libraries in every classroom
  • Leveled lending libraries to support guided reading in each building
  • The Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System (BAS) to determine students’ independent and instructional reading levels in grades K-5
  • Writing Benchmarks from the Teachers College Units of Study to assess students’ instructional needs in grades K-5