Mrs. Ellen McNaughton » Welcome!


Welcome to Skills for Success -Reading!  I am looking forward to a great year of hard work and progress.  This class is a wonderful opportunity for students to build skills that will help them to succeed in ALL classes by building deeper comprehension skills.  Please find our Syllabus for this course for an overview of our time together.  

Swartz Creek Middle School

Course Syllabus

Course Name: Reading Skills for Success

Course Description:    

This is an intervention class to help you meet grade level expectations in the area of reading.  You were selected for this class based on assessment scores and teacher recommendations.  We are confident that with hard work, on our part and on your part, that you will make tremendous progress toward your goals.

What will we be learning?  Throughout the year, we will be working in many areas in order to read and fully comprehend text.  The following are the major areas that we will work on consistently throughout the year.  We will spend the first few weeks introducing these strategies and then revisit them in more and more depth as the year progresses.

Non-Fiction   Reading non-fiction is entirely different than reading fiction.  We will explore text features, finding the main idea and supporting details, summarizing what we have read (in order to retain the most important ideas), identifying the type of text structure that is used (for example: chronological or cause and effect), and many other strategies to make sure students understand and retain the information that they are reading. This area is critical to success in school because so much of what you learn in other classes, such as science and social studies, comes in the form of complex non-fiction text.  In order to be successful in all classes you must be able to deeply comprehend non-fiction text.

Close Reads  Students will spend time annotating and questioning complex text.  They will build the skills and habits in order to think critically about what they are reading.  This skill will help when they are tackling difficult text in other core classes.

Fiction Reading  Through daily reading, book clubs and short texts, students will have the opportunity to think more deeply about what they read.  They will ask questions that can and cannot be answered directly from the text, and analyze plot and character development.

 Increased Vocabulary  A robust vocabulary is critical to understanding text.  Much of our vocabulary work will take place within our reading. We will identify unknown words and work on strategies to find what those words mean.  Students will practice using context clues and text features in order to help with comprehension.  We will also work with a set of weekly words in order to build our vocabulary

   Writing  Most of what we write in Skills for Success will be in response to our reading.  In most classes, teachers make decisions about student instruction based on the knowledge they share through their writing, so being able to fully express your thoughts through writing will be very important for your success in all classes

  Word Study – Each week, students will work with a set of words that are based on a pattern.  They will be responsible for being able to spell these words at the end of the week. We are working to master the patterns in these words in order to be able to apply them in writing a large variety of words.


It is crucial that students increase their time spent on reading, both in and out of school.  Students should create a habit of reading at least 20 minutes each day.  This may work best as a way to wind down before bed OR it may work best as a requirement before being allowed access to screens.  Whatever works best for your schedule, it is important that each student READ EVERY DAY OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL.  I have seen it time and time again, the students who increase the time spent on reading, increase their reading level and the students who do not read, do not improve.  This small change makes a HUGE difference.  If your child is a reluctant reader, consider starting with magazines or other text that may hold his/her interest.  This can be a difficult habit to form but the outcome is well worth it.


What do I need to bring to class?

Every day, you must have the following items in class.  Without these items, you will not be able to fully participate in our lessons.  These are also items that should be brought to every class:

  •         Several pencils (in case one breaks)
  •         Highlighters
  •         Independent Reading Book
  •         Folder to keep homework and graded papers. (It is a good idea to have a folder for every class in order to store graded papers AND a separate folder to keep work that needs to be completed or turned in also referred to as a “homework folder”)


How will I be graded?

Students will take frequent “quizzes” and “tests”.  These are given in a particular area after the topic has been taught and the students have had a lot of practice and feedback with the topic.  There is no need to study for these quizzes and tests.  You will be successful by participating in the practice and reviewing the oral and written feedback on you practice.

Students will also receive grades based on their progress toward the desired reading level.   Students may improve their level, and there for their grade by reading often, both in and out of school.

Behavior Expectations:   I expect hard work and respect for me and I will respect and work hard for you.  We will practice and discuss what is expected in our class and these expectations will be followed at all times. I commit to making expectations and the consequences if not followed very clear.  I will be fair and consistent.  You will need to commit to adhering to our classroom expectations.


The quickest way for me to communicate is through email : [email protected] . I also will communicate with you through email or by phone for individual concerns. I use the information that is connected with your PowerSchool account and will send a “test email” to all of my classes the first week of school. If you do not receive this email, you will want to contact the school in order to make changes. I will also update our blog. This will not be a daily update because so much of what we work on is long term practice. You can subscribe to my blog by……

Thank you for your support.  I look forward to a year full of success!