Reading Approach

Girl reading with stack of books

Finding Strengths

The hallmark of the reading approach at Eagle Hill is our ability to understand each student’s learning profile and to completely customize each student’s program. As teachers of reading, we believe that a full understanding of a student’s strengths and challenges in reading is an essential foundation for designing effective instruction. Students at Eagle Hill decode and comprehend text with varying degrees of proficiency, respond to a variety of instructional approaches differently, and develop their reading along different trajectories. Our Reading Department builds each student’s schedule with a full understanding of these elements as the starting point.
A student working on decoding skills might be placed in an intensive reading tutorial class using one or another—or elements of several—instructional approaches. A student whose primary need is to strengthen comprehension might begin by taking a class called Reading for Academic Purposes or explore her ability to create mental images when reading narrative text in a course called Comprehension Imagery. While all courses in the Reading Department attend to the complex range of skills and practices necessary for reading, individual courses are designed to target specific elements. The flexibility of our nine-term schedule allows students to take multiple reading and literature classes concurrently.
At Eagle Hill, we also know that the teacher-student relationship is fundamental to a student’s success. Being placed not only in the proper class but also with the correct teacher is another key consideration. Our reading teachers are professionally trained and allow us to offer an array of approaches, which include the following: 

  • Structured Word Inquiry (SWI)
  • Orton-Gillingham (Wilson, Spire, and Barton)
  • Lindamood Bell (LIPs, Visualizing and Verbalizing, Seeing Stars)
  • Notice and Note
  • Project Read

When we design a student’s schedule at Eagle Hill, we consider the student’s profile, the corresponding fit of various instructional approaches, and the makeup of the cohort of students we are creating in the classroom.

“I think the biggest impact the faculty at EHS had on my life was to get me excited about education. I didn’t recognize it while it was happening, but the self-confidence I obtained while at EHS changed how I felt about myself and my ability to succeed in college and beyond. This excitement about learning has continued to impact my life and is what led me to pursue a graduate education at Columbia University.”

Justin I. 
Class of 2013

“My teachers taught me as much outside the classroom as they did inside the classroom.”
Anthony P.
Class of 2006

Three pillars form the underlying supports in all of our reading classes:

Girl reading book

Independent Reading

Our classes provide the time, space, and framework for independent reading.



Books with language icons

Structural Analysis

Studying the meanings of Greek and Latin roots helps students to understand better the writing system, which directly affects their reading ability. 


Logos of different assistive technologies

Assistive Technology

Assistive technology aids our students in better understanding what they read and better expressing themselves in writing.


And we haven’t even mentioned the range of exciting literature courses offered in the English Department!


Beyond instruction at the foundational level in reading, Eagle Hill offers a full range of courses for literary study, including traditional survey courses and special topics, such as The Modern Novel, African American Literature, and Classic Epic: Gods, Heroes, and Mortals. Each student also engages in the study of written composition and rhetoric. The English Department administers a program of courses that targets academic writing and also allows for exploration in creative and expressive writing.

See our complete list of course offerings for the academic year:

Course Catalog & Curriculum Guide >>