At John Stanford International, we follow a program of balanced literacy. This is s research-based approach to teaching literacy from Columbia University Teachers College. All literacy instruction is aligned with Common Core State Standards. The balanced literacy approach includes the following components:

Readers' Workshop: The Reading Workshop consists of mini-lessons on reading strategies, time for practice of those strategies in the form of partner reading and independent reading, and conferencing with the teacher who can offer immediate feedback.

Writers' Workshop: The writing workshop consists of mini-lessons on writing strategies, independent writing time, and 1:1 conferencing to offer feedback and guidance. Similar to the Reading Workshop, We teach a mini lesson to the whole class. As they write, we move through the room and conference a few minutes with each child. These conferences are very simple and take a few minutes. The goal is to guide them to improve their writing based on what they are ready for in terms of ability.

WordStudy (sometimes known as phonics): This component is the decoding of the language or how to sound out the words to read and write. This can come in the form of sight words and within word pattern work like long vowels and silent e combination sounds.

Interactive Read-a-loud: This critical but short piece of a balanced literacy program are the times when we read a high interest book and ask inference, prediction, connections to self, etc. questions during the reading. The goal is to foster comprehension. It doesn't work if a child can read but has no understanding of what s/he is reading. The read-a-loud also models fluency so the learner can hear what words should sound like when read with expression.

Shared Reading: These are the times when the whole class reads texts like poems, chants and morning messages together. Again, this fosters fluency in that everyone is practicing at the same time so they can hear each other speak. We try to regularly introduce rich words (e.g. independence, peace, robust) to expose them to difficult concepts and to enrich their vocabulary.

Immersion Language

Starting on day one of their kindergarten year, EVERY student spends half the day learning entirely in one of our immersion languages--Spanish or Japanese. In the immersion classroom, teachers speak only in their immersion language, supporting the acquisition of the immersion language through the content of math, science and/or social studies. In addition to the immersion teacher, immersion classrooms are staffed by an instructional assistant or Intern who is fluent in the immersion language.


John Stanford International teaches to the Common Core and State Standards in math using Math in Focus and other supplemental resources.

Here is the Math in Focus presentation from Math Night from Marleen and Debbie from the SPS Math Department.


We follow the Seattle Public School (SPS) District Science Curriculum * some units are translated into Spanish and Japanese for use in the immersion classroom.
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