Phonological Awareness and Phonics

Our decoding strategy incorporates a unique combination of the Lindamood® Phoneme Sequencing Program (LiPS) and Benchmark® Word Identification approaches. The LiPS® program is designed to develop kinesthetic awareness of speech sounds and their association with individual letters to facilitate phonemic awareness, decoding and spelling. At the Day School, children learn to feel and see the differences between speech sounds in addition to hearing them. The Benchmark® program, which deals primarily with phonics, instructs the metacognitive strategy of compare/contrast. Benchmark® spelling patterns and syllabication rules are used for decoding and spelling, while symbol imagery instruction enhances rapid reading, spelling, and self-correction.

Comprehension Strategies Instruction

Comprehension Strategies Instruction (CSI) comprises a major focus of our language-based program. CSI class targets strategies proven to be effective in fostering comprehension including mental imagery (Visualizing and Verbalizing®), explicit vocabulary instruction, activation of background knowledge, question generation and answering, summarization, drawing inferences, identifying narrative components and text structures, utilizing graphic organizers and monitoring for meaning. Vocabulary instruction focuses on words that provide the greatest impact on expanding word knowledge. Emphasis is placed on listening, speaking, reading and writing new vocabulary in authentic contexts.


The Story Grammar Marker® and

ThemeMaker® & Research Writer


The Story Grammar Marker® and ThemeMaker® & Research Writer tools facilitate language development at the discourse level to enable students to comprehend, organize, narrate, and write, skills vital to academic and social success. The Story Grammar Marker® tool allows our students to better understand story components, retell, focus on details, make predictions, summarize, take a character’s perspective, map semantically, express their own and others’ points of view, and resolve conflicts.

The ThemeMaker® & Research Writer tool and maps emphasize non-fiction (expository) text structures: sequence, description, cause/effect, list, problem/solution, compare/contrast and persuade/argue. These graphic organizers assist students in the comprehension, organization, retention and expression of information. The iconic-based maps help students transition from speaking to writing, as the ThemeMaker® and Research Writer is used extensively throughout the content areas of language and literature, science and social studies.