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At Veritas Education, we are dedicated to preparing our students for a competitive world. This means that we offer our students the opportunity to grow not only academically, but also as a mature young adult who is able to think critically and write effectively.

We offer a unique series of core academic classes, blended with crucial student communication skills. Our goal is that every student will move forward, fully equipped for the next phase in their journey. 

Reading & Writing

Effective Communication through Reading, Writing, and Presentation

Grades 3-11

"Some researchers estimate that children learn 1 new word for every 1,000 words read." Students who read 30 minutes or more a day will likely learn 13,700 new words just from reading alone! Students who read less than 15 minutes day would only learn about 1,500 new words. Reading is a foundation to writing, while writing reenforces reading.* At Veritas Education, we understand the importance of the two skill sets. 

Our Reading and Writing course is designed to run in parallel with regular in-school English instruction. The class will both focus on reinforcing the objectives of the students’ in-school classes, as well as preparing students for the SOL test, training students to communicate effectively, speak publicly, and think deeply in ways that may not be covered in the public school curriculum. Students will explore effective reading methodologies, discover their writing potential, and learn to compose logically structured and deep essays.

Writing is the skill we use to express ourselves in the digital age and good writers know how to convey information clearly and effectively. Unfortunately, roughly three-quarters of both 8th and 12th grade students lack proficiency in writing according to the National Assessment of Education Progress.

 

So what opportunities do students need to become great writers? And why do so many students miss them? The journey starts when we are very young; it takes a combination of deep, authentically interesting observations and a masterful command of the chosen language. Research into how students learn can help us boil them down to 5 basic needs for every aspiring writer. Let’s take a look.

#1: Instructors who are Proficient and Motivated

Good instruction requires more than just a strong curriculum - students need teachers who are proficient in the skills being taught and motivated to teach them. Unfortunately, when it comes to writing, finding instructors like this is difficult. According to a 2016 study including almost 500 teachers grades 3-8, fewer than half of the teachers had taken a college class that included a substantial component on teaching students to write. And fewer than a third had taken a class entirely dedicated to this subject. Of that same group of teachers, only 55% reported that they enjoyed teaching writing to students.**

#2: Opportunities for interaction with highly-proficient language users

But that’s only half of the story. One of the factors that’s most predictive of language mastery, according to research conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), is frequent opportunities to use the language in an informal context.***  This means chatting with friends, talking over dinner, and having engaging conversations about a wide variety of subjects. The best way to do this is to structure conversation with open-ended questions - questions that require the participant to think and explain their thoughts. By doing this regularly, children are trained to structure their thoughts and express them in a way that makes sense to others. The connection between complex thoughts and good writing is fundamental. This is why we have also included a presentation component in our curriculum. 

#3: Developing Critical-Thinking Skills

Critical thinking can be learned, but students need the opportunity to learn them. That’s why we have worked with a team of Harvard Graduate School of Education-trained curriculum designers to put together our Thinking & Communication Development courses; they are designed to address the deficiency that research has to exist in many academic programs.

#4: Constant Academic Support

The quality frequency of instruction is equally as important as the quality instruction. All students, and especially bilingual ones, require continued academic support to thrive. The OECD details the need for academic support outside of class - things like tutoring, homework help, and writing assistance. Overall, what’s important is the consistency of language instruction. This is because students are not only building language proficiency, but building content literacy across several different academic disciplines.

#5: Practice, Practice, Practice

You may have been able to see this one coming. Whether it’s Malcolm Gladwell’s “magic number of greatness” - 10,000 hours of practice to master a subject - or the old adage that “practice makes perfect,” there really is no substitute for consistent practice. The key here is consistency. The Chinese American Educational Research and Development Association, in addressing writing development, notes that regular writing assignments, particularly in a journal format, can “motivate them to write more in length and richer in content.” This is something students can (and should) start doing on their own! But it’s also a great way for students to present their writing to their teachers.

 

Writing is one of the fundamental skills students need to learn, and given its importance, we have developed an curriculum, which supplements SOL. 
 

For 3rd grade level, students will focus on the following priorities:

  • Using knowledge of roots, affixes, synonyms, and antonyms to determine the meaning of new words.

  • Discuss meanings of words and develop vocabulary by listening to and reading a variety of texts.

  • Identify the author’s purpose, main idea, and supporting details.

  • Write a clear topic sentence focusing on main idea.

  • Use past and present verb tense.

For 4th grade level, students will focus on the following priorities:

  • Develop and use general and specialized vocabulary through speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

  • Identify themes, genres, and the narrator of a text.

  • Use text features such as type, headings, and graphics, to predict and categorize information.

  • Use transition words and prepositional phrases for sentence variety.

  • Utilize elements of style, including word choice and sentence variation.

 

For 5th grade level, students will focus on the following priorities:

  • Orally express ideas clearly in pairs, diverse groups, and whole class settings.

  • Discuss the impact of setting on plot development and describe character development.

  • Differentiate between first and third person point-of-view.

  • Skim materials to develop a general overview of content and to locate specific information.

  • Clearly state a position including supporting reasons and evidence to persuade the intended audience.

 

For 6th grade level, students will focus on the following priorities:

  • Participate in collaborative discussions with partners building on others’ ideas.

  • Identify and analyze the construction and impact of figurative language.

  • Explain how an author uses character development to drive conflict and resolution.

  • Draw conclusions and make inferences based on explicit and implied information.

  • Write multiparagraph compositions with elaboration and unity.

For middle school students, the class will:

  • Focusing on crucial writing and reading strategies and core concepts. Covering real SOL questions and exercises. 

  • Cultivating student’s communication, presentation, self-reflection, and deep thinking skills.

  • Providing practical steps to reading precisely, and writing with both logic and depth.

 

For high school students, the class will:

  • Foster students’ critical reading, descriptive writing, and engaging presentation skills.  

  • Develop a mature young adult mindset through topics including Impression Management, Deep Thinking, Descriptive Writing, and Close Reading.

  • Instructor will provide individualized feedback to help students improve and achieve their reading/writing goals.

 

Our teachers accomplish this by encouraging students to approach texts as active readers, engaging with the material by asking questions, making connections, and breaking down readings into their main elements. This helps students to both better understand the meaning of the text, as well as understand how to use these elements to improve their own writing.

Hear what our students and parents are saying about this course! 

"Thank you very much for the feedback about Eric. And thanks also for your effort in teaching Eric the writing skills. I noticed that before the class, Eric wasn't interested in writing. He is now enjoying writing very much!"     Father of a 4th grade student

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USCECC | Veritas Education

 

8292D Old Courthouse Road

 Vienna, VA 22182

veritasedu@uscecc.org

Tel: 703-870-3766

Fax: 703-637-9825

© 2021 by Veritas Education. All rights reserved.