Course Catalog

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Reading

The goals of the Reading Department are to provide students with the skills to become independent readers and to foster the love of reading. The department offers a broad range of courses to meet the needs of students who have difficulty with decoding and/or reading comprehension skills. Faculty members in the reading department work with the students to develop the fundamentals necessary for further academic study and the study of literature in particular. 

As a department, we do not believe in the implementation of one approach to teach reading. After reviewing educational assessments and conducting informal assessments and classroom observations, each teacher designs instruction for the students in his or her classes by drawing on a variety of approaches to the instruction of reading. Students working on decoding skills have available to them direct instruction based on the Orton-Gillingham principles including the Wilson Reading System, the Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing Program, and other multisensory strategies. When a student’s primary need is to strengthen comprehension, faculty members draw upon programs such as Lindamood-Bell’s Visualization and Verbalization, Seeing Stars, Project Read, Notice & Note, Timed Readings Plus as well as other literature-based approaches. 

In addition to focusing on decoding and comprehension directly, the reading department offers related courses that address vocabulary development, word attack skills, and spelling--the skills that are necessary for reading for academic purposes. Students are likely to take multiple courses concurrently in the reading department. For example, a student might be working on decoding and spelling in a reading tutorial and in the same semester be taking a course focused more directly on the development of comprehension strategies. This allows the student to continue to be exposed to interesting and age-appropriate literature while working to improve his or her decoding abilities.
 
  • Close Reading Strategies for Fiction

    The Close Reading Strategies for Fiction course covers the multi-sensory, explicit, sequential learning of the art of understanding various fiction genres - how to analyze, synthesize and use critical thinking skills to understand fictional text, through learning the structure of narrative writing with the assistance of graphic organizers, vocabulary development, and class discussions.  This course is a great starting place for those with weak reading comprehension skills, which can open up the world of literature for them. For students with comprehension skills in fictional text, who, with explicit instruction in story structures, could improve their understanding of this type of text. The course may be combined with Expository Reading Comprehension or taken singly.
  • Comprehension Imagery

    The Comprehension Imagery course covers the multi-sensory, explicit, sequential learning of the art of concept imaging in order to increase the ability to form pictures or movies in one’s mind while reading. This skill expands language/reading comprehension, reasoning, critical thinking and expressive language skills. Students who have an underdeveloped ability to picture and remember scenes while they read, dramatically affecting comprehension, memory and critical thinking.
  • Reading and Writing Children's Literature

    This back to the basics course exposes students to a variety of children's literature. Students read, discuss and critique various genres of literature with a focus on setting, plot, characters, theme, and overall appeal to children. After being exposed to numerous pieces of children's literature, students write their own children's stories. These stories involve character, setting, and plot development, as well as the incorporation of various themes. Students do not have to be artisans for this class they just need a desire to study this genre and have a positive attitude.
  • Reading and Writing Technology Tools

    In this course, students will be introduced to extensions, apps and technology websites that assist in reading and writing.  The course will introduce Snap & Read, Co:Writer, and Learning Ally, as well as other helpful tools depending upon students’ academic needs.  Any student who would benefit from assistive technology for academic success in reading and writing should consider this course.
  • Reading Between the Lines

    Reading Between the Lines allows students to hone their skills at making inferences. In order to infer meaning from text, readers must combine information from the text with their own background knowledge to make a theory about what is possibly true. Students will practice the skill using a variety of media such as short film clips, photos, cartoons, song lyrics, and short passages. When they have gained proficiency, they will apply the skill to short stories.
  • Reading Comprehension for Fiction

    The Reading Comprehension for Fiction course covers the multi-sensory, explicit, sequential learning of the art of understanding various fiction genres - how to analyze, synthesize and use critical thinking skills to understand fictional text, through learning the structure of narrative writing with the assistance of graphic organizers, vocabulary development, and class discussions.  This course is a great starting place for those with weak reading comprehension skills, which can open up the world of literature for them. For students with comprehension skills in fictional text, who, with explicit instruction in story structures, could improve their understanding of this type of text. The course may be combined with Reading for Academic Purposes or taken singly. 
  • Reading Fluency

    The Reading Fluency course covers the development of reading fluency through intensive oral and silent reading practice linked with comprehension, multi-syllabic word recognition mastery and vocabulary development. This course is for students whose reading speed/accuracy is below the norm and impairs memory and comprehension of what is read. This course may be taken more than once and for different term lengths.
  • Reading for Academic Purposes

    Reading for Academic Purposes covers the multi-sensory, explicit, sequential learning of the art of understanding nonfiction text through focusing on collecting, gathering, organizing and synthesizing information in that text, through the use of graphic organizers, teacher modeling, class discussion, notetaking and summarizing, with a particular emphasis on identifying main ideas and supporting details.  This course is for students who have weak comprehension skills with academic text. This course may be combined with Reading Comprehension for Fiction course or taken singly.
  • Reading Tutorial

    The Reading Tutorial course provides a multi-sensory, alphabetic-phonetic and sequential approach to basic word attack, reading, spelling, and writing skills, explicitly teaching the association between written symbols and their spoken sounds and the correspondence between the sequences of sounds and the sequences of letters.  Students read words in isolation, participate in sound dictations, spell targeted words and sentences, read orally from appropriate skill level trade books and write short pieces toward mastery of these skills.  This course is designed for students with significant weakness in basic decoding skills, who also may have coexisting challenges that would cause difficulty for that student in making effective progress in a group of more than three students. Students appropriate for Reading Tutorial are in need of individualized, explicit, intense instruction in order to make effective progress. This course may be taken with the permission of the reading department, and may be taken more than once.
  • Selected Short Stories

    The Selected Short Stories course provides an opportunity for students served by the reading department to continue sharpening their vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension skills.  Through carefully selected literature, students will continue to foster a love of reading while exploring short stories.  This course can be used as a precursor for literature courses in the English department.
  • The Novella

    The Novella course provides an opportunity for students served by the Reading Department to enjoy the classics while sharpening their vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension skills.  Through carefully selected literature, students will continue to foster a love of reading while exploring classical novellas.  This course can be used as a precursor for literature courses in the English department.
  • Word Attack Skills

    The Word Attack Skills course teaches the multi-sensory development of decoding skills through recognition and understanding of linguistic structures (phonetic and meaning-based patterns in words of Anglo-Saxon and Latin origins, along with basic grammar), multi-syllabic word attack, vocabulary development, specific comprehension and encoding (spelling). This course is for students with relatively weak multi-syllable decoding and spelling abilities, perhaps causing dysfluent reading and weak comprehension.

Faculty

  • Photo of Marcia Bobka
    Marcia Bobka
    Teacher, Advisor
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  • Photo of Dana Harbert
    Dana Harbert
    Director of Admission
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  • Photo of Laurel Nahorniak
    Laurel Nahorniak
    Teacher, Advisor
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  • Photo of Caryl Rice
    Caryl Rice
    Teacher
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  • Photo of Meghan Rickert
    Meghan Rickert
    Teacher
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  • Photo of Deborah Shanks
    Deborah Shanks
    Teacher, Advisor
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  • Photo of Eric Stone
    Eric Stone
    Dean of Education
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  • Photo of Mary Ann Welsch
    Mary Ann Welsch
    Teacher
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  • Photo of Stephanie Whitaker
    Stephanie Whitaker
    Teacher, Advisor
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P.O. Box 116
242 Old Petersham Road
Hardwick, MA 01037
Phone: 413.477.6000
Fax: 413.477.6837

Eagle Hill School

Eagle Hill School is the premier college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 8-12 with diverse learning profiles, such as ADHD and Dyslexia.