This article is the first in our series on Superkids
St. Anne's Kindergarten and First Grade students are gaining a strong foundation in literacy thanks to our investment in the Superkids® Reading program this year. With the help of a grant from the Chichester duPont Foundation, St. Anne's purchased this research-based, core literacy curriculum, which seamlessly integrates reading, spelling, handwriting, grammar, listening, and speaking into an engaging learning experience for our young students.
"The Superkids program is based on the latest research in cognitive neuroscience and helps teachers meet the needs of diverse learning styles," notes Director of Curriculum Valerie White. "It is equipping our students with skills that are fundamental to their future success. Best of all, the program is fun and engaging for all students!"
The Superkids characters represent a culturally diverse group of friends with unique personality and interests. They captured the imagination of our Kindergarten class right away. Students develop a deeper understanding of what they are learning when they can make personal connections, and the students are eager to read about what is happening with their favorite Superkid! Collectively, their stories capture universal experiences of childhood. The characters grow up in step with our students, and the children love to see themselves in their age-appropriate adventures.
In Kindergarten, Superkids begins teaching children the foundational skills they need to become successful readers and writers. Through explicit and systematic phonics instruction, children learn the letters of the alphabet, one sound for each letter, and how to blend the letter-sounds to decode words. They are also taught how to write the uppercase and lowercase forms of each letter and to encode (spell) words with the letters and sounds they've been taught. This method of instruction is thoughtfully and thoroughly designed so that children learn to decode words with continuous practice until they reach automaticity and fluency. Our teachers cannot say enough good things about this new program.
"Superkids gives us many many organized ideas to work from," Kayce Scioli said. "It integrates all components of language arts and even incorporates technology. We're having as much fun as the kids are having with this very engaging program."
Kari Kalloo agrees. "Our students are developing strong foundational skills while unlocking the code of reading and spelling. The children are honing their word attack skills with confidence, accuracy, and fluency. They think of the Superkids as friends with similar interests. It is highly motivational. "
The students began the year learning about Cass, who likes to cook. Phonemic awareness, science concepts (how food grows), vocabulary, guided listening and comprehension, handwriting, (C,c) and development of written expression were purposefully woven into each unit. This particular lesson concluded with a trip to the St. Anne's kitchen to meet our very own cook, Sandra Nix. The children loved checking out the kitchen equipment and learning about Ms. Nix's job. The surprise plate of cupcakes was an especially sweet way to end this unit!
The children were just as fascinated by their next character, Oswald, who likes odd animals such as the ostrich and ocelot. Oswald also makes up pretend animals. The children loved designing their own odd animals with their fifth grade buddies when they visited during Connections.
Most recently, the students met Icky, who likes to watch TV and make pretend movies. As part of this unit, the students will make a pretend TV out of a big box where they can act out their own shows!
WATCH - Kindergarten Meet The Newest Superkid!
Our teachers note that the program incorporates both formal and informal assessments on an ongoing basis that allows them to measure student progress and skill mastery. "Based on the results we have seen thus far, we are anticipating that more students will leave our Kindergarten as authentic readers than we have had in years past," said Director of Student Learning, Lisa Bloomfield. "As a result of the Superkids implementation, we expect to see less students needing long-term literacy support in First Grade and beyond."
We will visit the First Grade in our next Superkids article