Letters and Speech
We believe that language skills are acquired best through a performative approach in which reading, writing, and speaking well are taught as pleasurable activities that grow out of vivid texts and shared creation. Early skills are then honed through the study of grammar, rhetoric, and literary performance as children mature.
Language richness, diversity and complexity will envelop all MUSE students beginning in pre-K. Our language acquisition approach transitions from group storytime and reading circles to leveled reading in small groups. Fundamentals of alphabet, phonics, handwriting, and simple word recognition transition into daily writing assignments, rapid vocabulary acquisition, and explicit study of grammar and syntax. The acquisition of language and speech will result naturally in an effort to more fully express oneself, understand others and explore the world.
MUSE families are expected to make daily reading and discussion in the home a shared ritual that expands on skills learned during the school day, with regular guidance provided as to texts that will engage students' imaginations and reinforce fluency. Beginning in second grade, MUSE students are introduced to age appropriate literary genres through readings from short stories, poems, dramatic excerpts, and fairy tales. Our approach to literature blends reading for plot, character, and message with performative interpretation and adaptation in dramatic scenes, dance and songs. In this way, a cultural heritage becomes a living tradition that must continually be made new by young scholars and artists.
By fifth grade, MUSE students are ready to engage in more formal literary analysis and will be writing short essays drawing on their knowledge of narrative structure, character development, historical context, and poetic devices. They will be well positioned for study of more sophisticated literary works and able to craft new works of both individual expression and group collaboration with their fellow MUSE classmates.