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Siena’s middle school reading program works to pinpoint and address gaps in skills through detailed testing and flexible grouping to use the best technique for each student. Teachers focus specifically on improving phonemic awareness, decoding and spelling, learning the morphology of words (prefixes, roots, and suffixes), and applying reasoning at the word, sentence, and paragraph level to improve understanding of language. Students receive direct fluency instruction and practice with poetry, dramatic monologues, and famous speeches. They also work to deepen their comprehension of and connection to fiction and nonfiction and improve their understanding of non-literal language (metaphors, multiple meanings, and extended metaphors in texts). 

Weekly book clubs enable students to share their independent reading with peers as they apply comprehension skills (imaging, summarizing, plot structure, character analysis, and themes). Most importantly, teachers work with each student to help them access materials, in both print and audio formats, that are at their interest level as they expand their reading repertoire. Siena’s reading program is dedicated to helping students become independent readers, as we believe self-directed reading is key to becoming a lifelong reader. 

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