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.
 
  • Advanced Linguistic Structures

    The Advanced Linguistic Structures course teaches the multi-sensory mastery of advanced decoding skills through mastery of linguistic structures (phonetic and meaning-based patterns in words of Latin, Greek and French origins, along with grammar, multi-syllabic word attack fluency, vocabulary development, specific comprehension, and encoding (spelling).  The class benefits students who, after completing Reading Development II, need further explicit instruction to master reading, spelling and comprehension of more sophisticated words of foreign origin. Prerequisite: Reading Development II or permission of Reading Department.
  • 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.
  • Expository Reading Comprehension Mastery

    Improving one’s reading comprehension takes learning new strategies and practicing them many times until they are mastered. The Expository Reading Comprehension course is a 2 term reading comprehension course to solidify the process of visualizing while reading and other specific comprehension strategies taught in previous courses, to follow after student completion of Comprehension Imagery and/or Reading Comprehension for Fiction and Expository Reading Comprehension courses in previous years.  This course is for students who need additional instruction and practice to improve weak comprehension skills. 
  • Expository Study Skills

    The Expository Study Skills course explicitly teaches methods in a multi-sensory, sequential way to assist students in understanding and applying information from expository text articles and books on specific and various topics.  Students learn processes to determine main ideas and supporting details, to take two-column notes, to outline, to paraphrase and to summarize.  Students will write short papers on topics studied in class and experience how writing on a topic helps one understand it more completely. This course may be taken more than once, and can also be combined with Textbook Study Skills or taken singly.  This course is for students with weak skills in collecting, synthesizing and studying information from nonfiction academic texts.
  • Grammar and Writing Workshop

    The Grammar and Writing Workshop course teaches the explicit, multi-sensory, sequential learning of the grammar of sentences and how to write complex sentences and manipulate their structure, to help with writing and reading comprehension skills. The class will then move to longer writing assignments and mix in additional grammar instruction over the year.  Students will be able to continue practicing expansive sentence construction with support and review in the context of a variety of longer assignments tailored to their interests and abilities.  The course is for students who write at a basic level, are unclear about what constitutes a complete sentence, and lack basic grammar knowledge and the skills to apply that knowledge to crafting short, written pieces of fiction and nonfiction. These students need to expand their understanding of sentence structure and use of descriptive vocabulary.  
  • Greek Roots

    The Greek Roots course covers the development of students' vocabulary and spelling skills through the learning of Greek roots that combine to form words occurring in English and their associated linguistic structure.
  • Homework Strategies

    The Homework Strategies course is for 8th and 9th graders and students new to Eagle Hill School, and covers various strategies for tackling homework, including: getting organized, time management, keeping track of assignments, asking for help when needed, vocabulary study process, making and studying with flash cards, active and accurate reading of directions, reading for information, slowing down, double checking, proofreading, and editing.  It is designed to help students learn to make effective use of study hall time early in their EHS career, hand in quality independent work and improve test-taking ability.
  • Latin Roots I

    The Latin Roots I course covers the development of vocabulary and spelling skills by learning a set of at least twenty Latin roots that occur with high frequency in English, their associated linguistic structure and meanings, and the meanings of words derived from those roots. This course may be combined with Latin Roots II or taken singly. It is ideal for any students to develop their vocabulary, spelling and decoding knowledge that may also improve reading fluency and comprehension.
  • Paragraph Writing

    The Paragraph Writing course teaches the explicit, multi-sensory, sequential learning of the structure of the five basic different types of paragraphs used in the academic world, (procedural, descriptive, persuasive, informative, compare and contrast). The class benefits students who write sentences well but need help organizing their writing into coherent, logical paragraphs.
  • 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 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 Development

    The Reading Development course teaches the multi-sensory development of advanced decoding skills through understanding of linguistic structures (phonetic and meaning-based patterns in words of Anglo-Saxon, Latin, Greek, French origins, grammar), multi-syllabic word attack, vocabulary development, specific comprehension and encoding (spelling).  Reading Development is for students who need further explicit instruction to improve decoding and related reading skills after Word Attack Skills or Reading Tutorial.
  • Reading Development I

    The Reading Development I 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.
  • Reading Development II

    The Reading Development II course teaches the multi-sensory development of advanced decoding skills through understanding of linguistic structures (phonetic and meaning-based patterns in words of Anglo-Saxon, Latin, Greek, French origins, grammar), multi-syllabic word attack, vocabulary development, specific comprehension and encoding (spelling).  Reading Development II is for students who need further explicit instruction to improve decoding and related reading skills after Reading Development I or Reading Tutorial.
  • 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.
  • Sentence Writing

    The Sentence Writing course teaches the explicit, multi-sensory, sequential learning of the structure of sentences and how to write complex sentences and manipulate their structure, in order to develop the students' writing, reading comprehension and decoding skills.
  • Sentence Writing Mastery

    The Sentence Writing Master course will review the grammar of sentence construction) and extend further the student’s ability to produce grammatically correct, varied and sophisticated sentence writing.  It is designed for students who need reinforcement with this skill after having taken Grammar and Writing Workshop in a previous year.   
  • Spelling Patterns I

    The Spelling Patterns I course covers the development of spelling skills by learning and practicing the major spelling generalizations and patterns in English in order, to expand writing skills. The class will benefit students who have difficulty with spelling, whether or not they also have decoding difficulty. 
  • Spelling Patterns II

    The Spelling Patterns II course covers the development of spelling skill through mastery of the major spelling generalizations, patterns, and meaning-based spelling strategies for English in order, to expand writing skills.  The class will benefit students who have difficulty with spelling, whether or not they also have decoding difficulty. 
  • Study Skills-Lecture Notes

    The Study Skills - Lecture Notes course is open to juniors and seniors with note-taking ability and teaches methods for listening and taking notes on a lecture, reviewing, discussing, and studying notes, and skills for participating in academic discussions.  This course is geared toward preparation for college, and students taking it are expected to already have some skill in taking notes.
  • Textbook Study Skills

    For students with weak comprehension of textbook material, or who want to get more out of studying with their textbooks.  The Textbook Study Skills course explicitly teaches students to recognize typical organizational structures of text, to organize notes to enhance textbook study, and to create study guides from their notes using their textbooks.  Students will learn and practice vocabulary study strategies related to textbook reading.  This course serves as an introductory reading comprehension course and is specifically for 8th and 9th grade students. This course can be combined with Expository Study Skills or taken singly.
  • The Amazing History of English

    The Amazing History of English course considers the history of the English language from ancient to modern times, and its change and expansion as linguistic structures from other languages have been acquired, often due to the influence of wars, invasions, and other historical events. Included is the study of linguistic structures acquired from Anglo-Saxon, Latin, Greek and French, such monumental changes as the Great Vowel Shift, and study of the change in usage over time of a certain group of words as examples of the continuing evolution of English.
  • The Language of History and Social Studies

    The Language of History and Social Studies course covers the development of vocabulary including the reading and spelling of common words essential to understanding academic content in history and social studies courses.
  • The Language of Literature

    The Language of Literature course covers the development of vocabulary including the reading and spelling of words essential to understanding academic content in literature courses.
  • The Language of Science

    The Language of Science course covers the development of vocabulary including the reading and spelling of common words essential to understanding academic content in science courses.
  • The Language of Writing

    The Language of Writing course teaches the development of vocabulary skills to improve and expand on the students' writing capabilities including descriptive language and word variety. This is done through the study of analogies, synonyms, antonyms and homophones.
  • 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.
  • Word Discovering

    Word Discovering focuses the development of the skills necessary for the use of dictionaries in book and electronic form through explicit teaching of the symbols, abbreviations, and patterns used in dictionaries and strategies for approaching the understanding of multi-meaning words.
  • Words of French Origin

    The Words of French Origin course concentrates on the mastery of the unique phonetic patterns appearing in English words of French origin which have entered English largely unchanged (plateau, nonchalant, critique, etc.), to aid the students in their decoding, spelling and vocabulary development.
  • Words, Words, Words!

    The Words, Words, Words course focuses on the expansion of usable word knowledge through the study of common prefixes, roots and suffixes (that together with all Latin word parts comprise more than 50% of English), analogies, synonyms, homophones, and multiple meaning words in context. This course may be taken more than once.

Faculty

  • Photo of Nancy Martin

    Nancy Martin

    Reading Department Chair; Advisor; Teacher
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  • Photo of Marcia Bobka

    Marcia Bobka

    Teacher
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  • Photo of Dana Harbert

    Dana Harbert

    Director of Admission
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  • Photo of Carolyn Mshooshian

    Carolyn Mshooshian

    Teacher
  • Photo of Laurel Nahorniak

    Laurel Nahorniak

    Teacher, Advisor
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  • Photo of Caryl Rice

    Caryl Rice

    Teacher
  • 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

An innovative approach to LD education in a classic New England boarding school environment, where diverse learners achieve success.