Keys to Literacy in Middle Division

Top-down webs, 2-column notes, annotating directions, Bloom’s question stems: All these are tools that you hear and see referenced consistently throughout the Middle Division. Walking through our classes, you may hear teachers telling students that they are going to “think and plan” before moving their seats or to open up a 2-column note while reading a passage.  All these elements are “key” pieces from the Keys to Literacy program, utilized school-wide, to support our students with processing text and generating written pieces.

In Middle Division, teachers are trained in both the Keys to Content Writing routine and also the Key Comprehension routine.  Additionally, students’ language arts teachers follow them into their content classes (Science, Social Studies, and in some cases Mathematics) as the co-teacher. This structure allows for consistent support of writing and comprehension strategies; the Language Arts teachers teach skills in isolation in Language Arts class, and then they are on hand for practical application in the content areas. In Language Arts classes, students may annotate readings for background knowledge that connect to content studied in Social Studies. Students utilize their understanding of the Keys routine of identifying main idea, text features and structures, and summarizing to gain understanding of a concept in Language Arts to prepare for the content covered for activities in their class. In other classes, students utilize Frayer models to become familiar with new vocabulary and talk about categorizing new information into “buckets” and top-down webs to make sense of incoming information.


Kristen Huenemann
Head of Middle Division