• Oakland Aviation Hight School
  • Oakland Aviation Hight School

Literacy Program

Outline of literacy at OAHS

The fundamental goals of the OAHS literacy program are to ensure that all students who graduate are able to communicate effectively in English using speech, poetry, expository prose, short fiction and personal narrative, Internet, radio, and video.


To obtain these goals, for the first two years, students will take core English classes (based on the California State ELA Frameworks), an English Practicum class (based on scaffolding cognitive and textual strategies) and Advisory class that provides scaffolding in academic literacy.  These three courses work together to help students to accelerate their language development.  Because the classes can focus on different and complimentary aspects of literacy, each class is able to explore its core concepts in greater depth.  In their last two years at OAHS students will continue to take UC approved core English courses, and Advisory.  Students who are still behind will be required to continue taking the English Practicum course.


At the school-wide level students will participate in independent literary circles, sustained silent reading and grammar review weekly.  Literary circles meet on Thursdays for one hour.  Each group will choose a book to read together, set a schedule, rotate roles and write a review to the book upon completion. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, SSR takes place for 25 minutes.  Grammar review takes place on Fridays for 25 minutes in Advisory class.


OAHS provides more than three courses focused around literacy.  All core classes at OAHS require students to read, write, speak and listen.  As each content area has distinct modes of communication and definitions of evidence, students will be taught to use language skills to communicate in math, science, social science, English, Spanish, and physical education.


In each content area students are taught to approach text in a thoughtful and deliberate manner.  This is especially important before they have started a reading assignment reading because it helps them build the patience and stamina required to truly understand the content.  Before students begin reading their history or science text they need time to prepare for the task.  Teachers point out how the text is organized and demonstrate how to take notes and interact with the text.  Students are taught strategies such as coding, highlighting, summarizing and organizing pertinent facts.  Moreover, the development of strong literacy skills requires that students formulate an understanding of what “good readers” do, such as inferring, questioning, making connections and clarifying confusions.


Proposed English Texts and Curriculum


Proposed Texts and curriculum

English Core—Years 1-4

Prentice Hall Literature, the Student’s Book of College English, selected readings in English, and representative home languages.


Formative Assessments For Language Arts

Student Entry to Program


9th grade

School designed assessment based on released CAHSEE, STAR and SAT questions.

9th grade ELL


After 9th grade

School designed assessment based on released CAHSEE, STAR and SAT questions.


Conscious design elements of literacy program across the curriculum

In every class there is a conscious effort to help students gain access to language skills.  What follows is a summary of the key areas of literacy, and some examples of how these areas are supported daily in the classroom.


Four domains of Literacy

In every class, students are engaged in activities that require writing, listening, speaking and reading in English.


Teacher behaviors—modeling/contextualization

Teachers show step by step how to accomplish a task, providing concrete examples of the finished product.  Teachers model how to think about and complete processes such as reciprocal teaching.  Teachers actively engages students though the following behaviors:

  • Modeling a process like how to ask good questions
  • Using comprehension checks, active participation
  • Effective use of wait time
  • Equitable distribution of questions
  • Use of paraphrasing, rephrasing, repetition, giving examples or analogies, elaborating on student responses, and providing clear explanations


Bridging: assessing and activating prior knowledge and relating content to the personal lives and experiences of students

Students are engaged in tasks that provide a personal connection between them and the content to be learned.  Examples of best practices for student engaging student connections are:

  • Journal writing
  • Brainstorming, clustering
  • Anticipatory guides
  • Think-pair share
  • Three-step interview
  • KWL guides
  • Drawing connections exercise
  • Mock interviews and trials
  • Role play



Schema Building

Students engage in tasks that help them establish the connections that exist among concepts, to see what ideas fit in a larger scheme.  Examples are:

  • Advance/graphic organizers

  • Concept maps
  • Venn diagrams
  • Compare/contrast matrixes
  • Story maps, character logs
  • Reading notes
  • Graphic outlines of text
  • Cause/effect charts
  • Problem/solution outlines
  • Jigsaw projects


Meta-cognitive Development and Reading Processes

Students engage in tasks that help them internalize what good readers do and tasks that foster students’ autonomy.  Students interact with texts, both self-selected and teacher-selected, and develop understanding through multiple interactions.  Examples are:

  • Reciprocal teaching (summarizing, predicting, questioning, clarifying)
  • Double-entry journals
  • Learning logs
  • Graphic logs
  • Character report cards
  • Budget tour
  • Key questions
  • Open minds
  • Lecture/response logs
  • Think-alouds
  • Reading logs
  • Character logs
  • Semantic feature analysis
  • Journey map
  • Colorful conversations
  • Classroom libraries



Text Representation

Students engage in understanding texts and applying them in novel formats.  Examples follow:

  • Copy the master’s style
  • Bio-poems, “I am” poems
  • Collaborative posters
  • Post cards
  • Travel brochures
  • Hot set
  • Dioramas
  • Interpretive dance
  • Rap/hip hop interpretation
  • Draw or paint the story
  • Creating a coat of arms or manifesto



Students at OAHS are supported by staff and peers to master English.  Examples are:

  • Students encouraged and willing to take risks
  • Students have choice in some of their readings
  • Students have access to texts in home language, and opportunities to use home language with peers at school
  • All students receive the same level of material and content; those who need extra help are supported without pulling them out of core classes
  • All ELA curriculum is California State Standards based


Authentic Assessments

Student portfolios include teacher and student-selected artifacts that show progress over time.  Teachers and students collaborate to create and refine rubrics to measure levels of performance.  Students work toward creating “museum quality” exhibits on a regular basis, as motivation for completion of high quality work.


Internal and External Literacy Program Assessment

At least once each year the principal, a teacher, a board member, and a parent will review the effectiveness of the literacy program using the following question set.


Literacy Program Review Questions

1.      What evidence shows that the program does or does not support access to the core curriculum for all students?

2.      What evidence shows that the program does or does not work toward the achievement of California State content and performance standards?

3.      What evidence shows that the program does or does not demonstrate a record of success for students?

4.      What evidence shows that the program does or does not address the identified needs of students?

5.      What evidence shows that the program does or does not implement best practices based on brain research

6.      Is the current process for analysis of student data effective at identifying areas that need further scaffolding or re-teaching?

7.      How often is student work reviewed?

8.      Are the assessment tools actually measuring student mastery of standards?

9.      Does the data from standardized tests align with school-designed assessments?

10.  Are lesson plans based on analysis of data?

11.  Are the instructional materials accessible and appropriate for all students?

12.  Does classroom organization allow for student movement, choice and cooperation?

13.  What evidence shows that the program does or does not hold high expectations for all students

14.  Are the program strategies appropriate for the students?

15.  Which strategies are working, or not working?

16.  How many students have shown significant growth?  In which areas?

17.  Are teachers and staff trained appropriately?  What areas could use more training?

18.  Do teachers feel supported in their work?

19.  Are there any areas of major and minor concern?

20.  Considering the previous questions, which area of the program would provide the highest leverage change for increasing student achievement?