Nazareth Academy Grade School implements the Common Core State Standards for Reading and Writing adopted by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for grades one through eight. The application of online components with the text series has allocated more interactive and contemporary means of connecting students to the English and Language Arts material. Texts and supplemental materials are chosen to support and reflect these standards. The curriculum responds to meet the changing needs of students.
Emphasis is placed on the belief that there is a number of distinct forms of intelligence that each student possesses in varying degrees. Nazareth Academy Grade School subscribes to the belief that learning/teaching should focus on the particular intelligences of each student. Assessment should measure all forms of intelligence, not only linguistic and logical.
Throughout all the grade levels students are assessed in Reading, Grammar, Vocabulary, Spelling, Handwriting, and Unit Benchmarks. Trimester examinations are administered in grades seven and eight. Standardized Terra Nova testing in grades two through seven, writing portfolios, performance assessments, and oral/written presentations are implemented. In addition, Nazareth Academy Grade School participates in regional and local Spelling Bees.
An Honors ELA program for students in grades six, seven, and eight allows for academic diversity and challenge in this many faceted ELA program.
The Reading program partners in a variety of cross-curricular disciplines. The curriculum is interconnected among Phonics skills (lower grades), Vocabulary, Grammar, and Literature. The Reading program in the lower grades spirals through all grade levels. It is designed not only to address multiple learning styles but also to support multi-learning paves. In the upper grades, literature is genre-based with strong emphasis on trade books. Annual participation in Reading Olympics (grades five – eight), Reading Olympics for lower grades, and required involvement in classroom Literature Circles boost self- esteem, self-understanding through the written word, and enjoyment of all genres of literature.
The study of Latin is implemented in the ELA program for students in grades six through eight. Learning Latin strengthens basic English skills in vocabulary and reading comprehension. It focuses on grammar which leads to improved English writing and communication. The value of learning Latin is immediate. It is documented that students who are taught Latin for one year score one full year higher on Terra Nova vocabulary subtests (Archdiocese of Philadelphia, 2013).
Studying Latin vocabulary brings students in contact with word roots, prefixes and suffixes which constitute 60% of all English words and 90% of those over two syllables long. Students acquire the building blocks of the English language. Evidence has shown dramatic improvement in student reading scores on standardized tests nationwide. Students can also relate more easily to many terms they are asked to learn in Social Studies, Science, and Math. Most English grammar terms are borrowed from Latin also.