Curricular Highlights: Kindergarten


Lake Bluff Elementary School District 65 utilizes a balanced literacy approach. A balanced approach uses a variety of reading, writing and word work instruction, and practice opportunities for students in order to expose them to the rich world of literacy. An essential component of balanced literacy is called “workshop”. Our understanding and implementation of workshop, in District 65, is grounded in the research and practices of Lucy Calkins and her colleagues from the Teachers College, Reading and Writing Project who have developed the Units of Study in both Reading and Writing to guide us.

Reading and Writing Workshops are conducted daily to allow for students to receive personalized learning by engaging with and producing high volumes of both fiction and nonfiction texts of their choosing.  Because all lessons begin with explicit, direct teaching points, workshop prioritizes time for students to be immersed in independent reading and writing work, while teachers provide focused, differentiated instruction in smaller groups. As a result, workshop challenges students to develop the habits and dispositions of lifelong readers and writers.

Kindergarten Reading

In Reading, Kindergartners are exposed to stories and texts across genres while they grow their reading identities. They will immerse themselves in:

  • High-interest nonfiction
  • Emergent storybooks
  • Fundamental reading behaviors and strategies

Kindergarten Writing

In Writing, Kindergartners are introduced to and write 3 types of texts: 

  • The narrative units focus on the use of pictures and words to tell a story. 
  • The informational unit asks students to tell, draw, and write about a topic.
  • The opinion unit asks students to tell, draw, and write about likes/dislikes about a topic.

Kindergarten Phonics

The goal of phonics instruction is to support kids’ progress as readers and writers. In phonics, kindergarteners are exposed to whole group and small group experiences to support their ability to understand the relationship between letters and sounds. Phonics work is infused with a commitment to giving kindergartners opportunities to take risks, try again, talk, explore, pretend, more, play, question, invent, sing and laugh. Phonics instruction is incorporated throughout the literacy blocks and school day. Additionally, phonics instruction is at the center of the transformation kindergarteners make as they learn to read and write for important purposes.

Kindergarten Handwriting

Children who master handwriting are better, more creative writers. The earlier we teach children to master handwriting, the more likely they are to succeed in school, and write with speed and ease in all subjects. During handwriting instruction, we use fun, engaging, and developmentally appropriate instructional methods to enable children to master handwriting as an automatic and comfortable skill.
Handwriting Without Tears is: 
  • Developmentally Appropriate
    • Developmentally appropriate lessons promote quick success.
  • Multisensory
    • Multisensory teaching addresses all learning styles.
  • Unique Letter Order
    • Innovative letter order promotes easy learning.
  • Physical Approach


Mathematics instruction in District 65 provides the opportunity for all students to have a rigorous, engaging, and accessible curriculum which focuses on developing students’ deep understanding of mathematics concepts. In order to achieve this, students engage in a high level of discourse and are exposed to multiple strategies in order to solve complex problems. The backbone of this instruction comes from Bridges 2nd Edition which has been developed by the Math Learning Center after years and years of research in the field of elementary mathematics instruction.

Kindergarten Math

In kindergarten, students focus on whole numbers and shapes. Throughout the year they:

  • Count and compare numbers to 100, with a special focus on numbers to 20
  • Think about joining and separating situations as addition and subtraction
  • Compose and decompose numbers to 10 using tools
  • Sort, compare, and draw shapes
  • Combine shapes to make other shapes and complete puzzles

Kindergarten Science

Kindergarten students explore forces through Pushes and Pulls.

Kindergarten students look at weather and weather patterns to determine human impact on the environment around them.

Kindergarten students explore plants and animals and investigate their needs for survival.

Kindergarten Social Studies

In Kindergarten, students learn to create questions and seek information in order to learn more about topics. Students focus on key elements of their own social communities by exploring important roles in their immediate world around them.

Students learn about the ways people learn and work together and how citizens cooperate with each other. They learn about rules and laws and why we need them.

Kindergartners gain an understanding of what makes them unique and how they can be good citizens in their school, community, state, and country.

Children will investigate why people have jobs. Children will learn about the work they do at school and the jobs people do in their community and around the world. Kindergarteners will gain an understanding of how people work and why work is important. They will also explore needs and wants and the difference between them.