|Project Read: Written Expression|
A large dog's chew bone inscribed with hieroglyphic-like symbols is held by a teacher in front of a language arts classroom. Green sheets of laminated paper are passed around along with small yellow sticky pad sheets also containing odd symbols. An overhead projector displays a sentence on a white board. The scene is reminiscent of the army's Defense Language Training Institute in Monterey, California or perhaps a class in ancient Egyptology. Why is this taking place in a 7th grade language arts class at the Craig School?
The bone, it turns out, was not snatched away from someone's furry pet, but represents the Project Read Written Expression "bare bones" sentence. The primary symbol, an extended line with a peak at one end looking rather like a long dental pick, represents the capital at the beginning of a sentence with the punctuation at the end. Odd, perhaps, but on further examination is an extraordinarily effective method of teaching children how to write.
A visit to a 3rd grade class clears up some of the mystery surrounding the "bone" and the sticky pad notes. The major focus for the younger children is the "bare bones" sentence. Holding the "bone," the teacher shows a picture of a horse (noun), for example, and attaches a predicate (verb), e.g., "horses nuzzle" or "zebra gazes" or "bird flutters" to illustrate the "bare bones" components of a sentence. The child then learns to expand the sentence by answering such questions as "when" (does a horse nuzzle), "how", or "where," which are identified as predicate describers. From the outset the teacher emphasizes "predicates with punch." For example, "gazes" is preferred to "looks." Unfamiliar vocabulary words are placed on the bulletin board. The symbols on the sticky pad sheets indicate parts of the sentence. A horizontal line is a noun, a series resembling sharp peaks is the predicate and a triangle is the predicate describer.
Returning to the 7th grade class, the sentence projected onto the white board consists of several modifying phrases. Students are engaged in the process of selecting the correct symbols to identify the component parts of the sentence. Is the phrase a "what, where, who or when" modifier? The jumble of sticky notes and symbols now begins to take on meaning as students assemble the sentence identifiers and place them in the correct order on their laminated work sheets.
Project Read Written Expression is a language arts program for students who need a systematic learning experience with direct teaching of concepts and skills through multisensory techniques. For example, the hand gestures that accompany all Project Read teaching are based on the belief that muscle memory is essential to remembering language skills. The foundation of communication through Project Read Written Expression is the basic sentence.
This program is designed to give students mastery of sentence as well as paragraph development and composition. Sentence structure is presented in a sequential order beginning with the simple sentence and moving to complex sentences. Comprehension skills are developed as the student learns about the structure of written language. The program is appropriate for students of all ages.
Project Read is extremely effective for students who:
Currently all language arts and many reading and phonics teacher at Craig are trained in Project Read Written Expression.