ECI Reading and Writing Enrichement Program
ECI developed its own reading and writing curriculum (based off of curricula of top private schools in CT) to ensure that all of our academy students are exposed to top-quality reading and writing enrichment and prepared to succeed in college. During our After School Academy students engage in 6 hours a week of our reading and writing enrichment program and in our Summer Academy students receive 15 hours a week of reading and writing enrichment. Students are encouraged to be critical and analytical thinkers and communicators and there is a strong emphasis on being able to express thoughts logically through writing.
Here is a sample of our curriculum from the ECI's 2016 Summer Academy:
5th and 6th: Rising 5th and 6th graders focused on reading historical fiction this summer. They began the summer with a unit on the Holocaust by reading “Letters from Rifka” and “The Butterfly”. They then transitioned into reading a book, Esperanza Rising, which looks at the realities of Mexican immigrants in the 20th century. Students worked on reading comprehension skills as well as analytic skills. Additionally, there was a major focus on writing and organizing their ideas into succinct paragraphs. Throughout the summer students were introduced to the idea of social justice and challenged to think about why people and society do bad things and what they can do to make their community a better place.
7th – 9th Grade: Our rising 7th to 9th grade students started the summer by reading “A Long Way Gone” which is the one book at ECI every student has read and will read before graduating ECI. This is an autobiography about Ishmael Beah, a former child soldier in Sierra Leone. The students are encouraged to not only analyze Ishmael’s life but also learn about the tactics behind the recruitment of child soldiers and also the psychological impacts on an individual and an entire society. For the remainder of the summer, the students worked on forming argumentative essays.
10th – 12th: Our eldest high school students engaged in independent research projects this summer. Students had the choice to work independently or with a partner and the end goal was to write a 10 -20 research paper on a social justice issue of choice. For the majority of students, this was their first stint at a formal research paper so we broke down the steps of how to research, organize ideas, and cite their information. Research paper topics included: Injustices in the Incarceration System, Child Soldiers in Uganda, Gun Violence in the U.S., Racial Profiling, Higher Education Opportunities for Undocumented Immigrant Students, The Perception and Reality of Extremist, Muslim Terrorism. When ECI reconvenes for its November – June academy, the students will start off the curriculum by turning their papers into PowerPoint presentations and will have the opportunity to present their work.