English/Language Arts Department

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Proficient, engaged, lifelong readers, lifelong learners… 

Our elementary literacy program is responsive to scientific approaches to reading instruction, as we do this alongside our continued commitment to a student-centered literacy culture. A comprehensive literacy approach combines balanced and structured literacy models with careful attention to teaching structures, in both whole and small groups, in both print text and multimodal expressions, using data and NJSLS to drive instruction.  Early literacy (phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension) journeys through an active view of reading model (Duke & Cartwright, 2021; Serravallo, 2023) with boundless opportunity in unconstrained literacy skill work: oral language, word knowledge, vocabulary, comprehension, writing, motivation, and digital literacy. 

The secondary ELA program fosters a passionate, artful, and collaborative approach to rich literary content and standards-based literacy instruction with strategy-based differentiation, analytical thinking, real-world authenticity, and voice-filled expression.

​When our students are cultivated and engaged in challenging, meaningful, supportive, and relevant literacy instruction, they are self-motivated in their learning with advanced college and career-ready skills and enhanced cultural and literary perspectives.

Contact Us

Gary Pankiewicz, Ph.D.

Gary Pankiewicz, PhD
District Supervisor
Email Gary Pankiewicz
201-794-5470 ext. 4532

Fair Lawn Summer Reading

The Fair Lawn English Language Arts Department is excited to share our Summer Reading Initiative for all students based on feedback from the school community and in partnership with our school and public libraries. We continue to encourage our students to choose their own books (with some professional guidance).  However, our ultimate goal is to create an opportunity for students to read outside of school and to promote life-long reading interests and skills.  

Let’s not forget, reading is incredibly important.  Research suggests that reading a high volume of texts increases reading achievement. Along those lines, one aim of summer reading is to keep students connected to reading habits and comprehension skills that were practiced throughout the school year. Moreover, when reading becomes a person’s pastime, a new world of high-interest enjoyment and skill development emerges.

In Grades K-4, there is no formal assignment--only book suggestions and an expectation to choose reading as a summer activity often.  Please refer to this supporting document for more information.

In Grades 5-11, we have revised our expectation to be less assignment-driven than in previous years and to be more geared toward open-ended reflections about a text.  In short, students will jot down some notes about books or articles in response to some reflective prompts and questions. Those notes will be collected as a homework grade in the first week of school after teachers get a chance to review the expectation with their new students and address any questions, issues, or concerns.  Students will have an opportunity to revise their work before they submit it as their first homework grade.  Please refer to this document to support the Grade 5-6 assignment, this document to support the Grade 7-8 assignment and this document to support the Grade 9-11 assignment.

In Grade 12, students should prewrite and draft a personal essay detailed in this document in response to one of the 2023-2024 College Common Application Essay Prompts or a different post-secondary goal.  When seniors enter school in September, the summer writing draft will be collected and assessed as prewriting for the first major essay completed during the first marking period.

The formal summer reading assignment (including additional requirements for honors and AP level classes) was reviewed in English Google classrooms in June.  In addition, please visit the grade-specific links within each grade-level document above to see suggested book titles provided by our school and/or public libraries.  We encourage parents and guardians to support the student book selection process.  Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

In the Fair Lawn School District, we celebrate as a community of readers and writers!

In partnership,

Gary Pankiewicz, PhD
K-12 Language Arts & Literacy Supervisor
Fair Lawn Public Schools

Email Gary Pankiewicz