The Briarwood Lower School program is structured to meet the needs of the student with a diagnosed learning difference who has not reached his/her academic potential in traditional school environments. The program is effective because of smaller class size, dedicated, highly trained educators, and a research based-diagnostic, prescriptive curriculum.


A Typical Day in Lower School

Primary (K-2)

Students receive two and one-half hours of language arts instruction and one hour of math instruction per day to include:

  • Saxon Phonics – Systematic and repetitive, incorporates spelling
  • Primary Phonics  – Phonemic awareness, fluency, comprehension
  • Reading Through Automaticity, Vocabulary, Engagement, &  Orthography (RAVE-O) – Phonemes, meanings, morphemes, grammatical functions, & spelling patterns
  • Preventing Academic Failure (PAF)  –  Cursive Handwriting
  • Jump Math – An innovative, research-based program which fosters a deep understanding of math
  • Stern Math – A multisensory, manipulative based conceptual approach to teaching mathematics

Grades 3-6

These grade levels are departmentalized and students have individualized schedules.  Students receive one hour of instruction in each area daily:

  • Reading  – MacMillan/McGraw – Hill and Glencoe
  • Language Arts/ Spelling – Writing Matters/Treasures/Megawords
  • Science/Social Studies
  • Core Elective Lab
  • Jump Math/6th AGS – Basic Math Skills

All Students (K through Grade 6)

  • Visit The Moody Library / Technology Center weekly
  • Enjoy a hot lunch in the cafeteria
  • Participate daily in P.E. utilizing a full size gym as well as a track & field
  • Attend specialty classes:  Music, Art, & TOPS
  • Play at recess (K – 4) and on equipment on the covered playground


Core Elective Labs (Grades 4-6)

Core Electives are designed to deliver intensive small-group intervention in an area specific to the needs of each student.

Comprehension Lab

These students are identified as fluent readers, but struggle with comprehension. Programs used include:

  • Visualizing & Verbalizing (Lindamood-Bell)
  • The Comprehension Toolkit (Stephanie Harvey)
  • The Key Three Routine (Joan Sedita)

Writing Lab

These students need to enhance written language skills in the form of enrichment or remedial writing. Programs used include:

  • Writing Matters (William Van Cleave)
  • Keys to Literacy (Joan Sedita)
  • Writing Skills (Diana Hanbury King)

Creative Education Institute (C.E.I. LAB)

The Creative Education Institute is a company that presents “The Essential Learning Systems” reading lab program. The program has been in existence at Briarwood for over 20 years. It primarily addresses dyslexia and other related visual processing issues. Prior to admission to the lab, each student is administered a diagnostic screening test in reading to ascertain whether the program will effectively remediate the existing reading issues. With continual direct teacher intervention, students follow an individualized lesson plan involving decoding, spelling, written exercises, vocabulary tests, oral reading fluency, and comprehension of passages. The lab’s predictable lesson plans for students encourage self-organization and a sense of comfort and trust in the program.

Hands on projects to facilitate visualization of lab vocabulary and word studies are also incorporated into the lab classes as further enrichment. Record keeping on the progress of each student plays an integral part in our effort to make sure that each child is exactly where he/she needs to be. This program has consistently and positively changed the way students read, helping to restore their confidence and self-esteem.

Math Lab

Students with math deficits work on fact fluency, solving word problems, or other areas of need as identified in the classroom. Programs used include:

  • Math (Chris Woodin)
  • On Cloud Nine (Lindamood Bell)
  • Math Applications


Additional Course & Programs

The ePals Program

ePals is an international pen pal partnership with schools around the world.

Degrees of Reading Power (DRP)

Required for all students (grades 3 – 6)
Students are required to read aloud nightly for 20 minutes at an independent reading level  as recommended by Dr. Sally Shaywitz, Overcoming Dyslexia, 2003.

Great Leaps

Required for all students (grades 3 – 6)
This researched and evidence-based reading fluency program, developed by Ken Campbell, was designed for students with significant reading and/or fluency problems.

Landmark Master Notebook System

Required for all students (grades 3 – 6)
Through the Landmark System, developed by Joan Sedita, Briarwood emphasizes and directly teaches organizational skills.   The goal:

  • Organize materials, assignments, and study time
  • Use notebooks, assignment books, organizational apps, & note-taking skills
  • Apply organizational skills independently
  • Treat organizational skills as part of the curriculum