English Language Arts Curriculum Letter

E2-Reader and Writer's Workshop

Ms. D'Amato/Ms.Scurdy( yscurdy@yahoo.com)

February 1, 2011

Dear Students, Parents and Guardians:

Welcome to the spring semester at Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers!  We are excited to start a new Reading Workshop model in our Freshman Academy English classes.  Throughout the spring term we will utilize a classroom library as the foundation in which to build our reading strategies and skills.  The Reading Workshop model will allow our students to immerse themselves into literature that is engaging and will encourage a love of learning in the classroom and beyond.  The following outline will provide you with information concerning our program.

Our Goals:

  1. Students will understand that reading can expand and deepen our understanding of the world around us and ourselves.
  2. Students will understand that being a good reader will improve their lives.
  3. Students will understand that good readers practice specific skills that help bring a book to life.
  4. Students will be able to make and explore personal connections to characters, conflicts, or themes in a text.
  5. Students will be able to recognize vocabulary words independently and use context clues and KIM vocabulary methods to understand and learn new words.
  6. Students will be able to respond to a book using a variety of prompts and questions from their “reader’s toolbox”.

In addition to helping you acquire a mastery of the English language, it is our hope that the students will develop a lifelong appreciation of literature and its’ impact on our world.  Our expectations are that the students will take responsibility for their learning and leave the class as better informed citizens, well-equipped to move on to their sophomore year of instruction in the fall.  As teachers of this course, we will provide you with a safe and supporting learning environment; standards-based instruction and a commitment to work toward your success.

It is expected as a courtesy to the quality of education we aspire to achieve, that our students will show up on time and ready to work each day.  We ask that students abide by the no electronic devices policy – this means cell phones and i-pods are NOT to be seen, heard, or used during class.  We also expect our students to begin working on the class AGENDA immediately upon entering the classroom and to remain actively engaged in class work throughout the duration of the class period.

Materials: Students MUST have for their Reading Workshop English class ~

  1. Composition Notebook (will be used daily as a reading journal and foundation for the course grade)
  2. Blue or black ink pen and a pencil
  3. 1 folder
  4. Assignment Notebook Calendar – to be used for all subject assignments

There are three marking periods during the spring semester.  Marking period 1 ends on Friday, March 4, 2011.  Marking period 2 ends on May 2, 2011 and Marking period 3 ends on June 14, 2011. The grade for each marking period is broken down as follows:
10% Homework: Students are expected to read for 30 minutes at home each night and maintain a reading log monitoring the process.
30% Class work and Participation: Students are expected to be engaged in their independent reading on a daily basis as well as to use their reading journals for teacher-led mini-lessons.
30% Quizzes and Exams: Students will be responsible for writing in their reading journals daily and these assignments will be graded as quiz and exam scores.
30% Projects: Upon completion of each independent reading book, students will complete a project based upon their reading selection.

It is very important that students play a role in their learning. Good attendance and behavior are vital in order for students to have a successful school year. Students who attend school regularly learn more and are more successful in school. There is a powerful link between successful learning and regular school attendance. The following outlines will supply you with information concerning our expectations.


  1. If students are late they must have a note from the teacher.
  2. If students are absent they must have a note from their parent.
  3. Punctuality every day is very important.
  4. Students must be in class and in their seats when the 2nd bell rings.



  1. Student must be respectful of others.
  2. Students must raise hand before speaking.
  3. Students are expected to participate in class.
  4. Profanity will not be tolerated.
  5. Computer usage will be tracked and logged.
  6. Students will be penalized for unauthorized usage.
  7. Students are expected to work on class AGENDA
  8. Students are expected to refrain from eating, chewing gum, wearing headgear and using electronic devices.

Homework Assignment:

Students will be expected to complete their homework assignments, which will be a review of class work. Homework is not simply busy-work assigned to students to keep them occupied at home. Homework assignments and study serve several educational needs that are essential to receiving a complete education. They provide an opportunity for students to develop self-discipline, study habits, and time management skills. Homework closes the gap between school and home learning. Homework can also be the deciding factor between passing and failing, if student’s test scores are low.


Parents and Guardians: We welcome your involvement and appreciate the opportunity to be a part of your child’s academic success.  Please make sure your child is on time and present every day.  Feel free to contact teachers or administrators with questions and concerns.  Parent/Teacher Conferences will be held on the evening of March 17, 2011 and during the afternoon of March 18, 2011.  Please keep this letter but sign and send the tear off below back to your child’s English teacher.  Thank you!



Return Due Date: February 4, 2011
I have read and understand the requirements for success in the Reading Workshop English class.

Student Name (Print) ____________________________________ OSIS #__________________
Parent/Guardian (Print) __________________________________________________________
Parent/Guardian email ___________________________________________________________
Parent/Guardian phone numbers: (cell) ______________________________________________
(day) ____________________________________ (evening)____________________________