The purpose of the Literacy program in the fifth grade is to foster a love of reading and writing and to strengthen skills in fluency, literary analysis, comprehension, oral presentation of ideas, and written expression. Literature read in fifth grade relates to the social studies curriculum, integrating historical fiction into the fabric of studies on exploration, colonization, and immigration. Class discussions provide a forum for collective learning as children are exposed to a variety of perspectives and are encouraged to share their own. Students learn to develop their own ideas and positions about what they have read and to back their opinions with specific references. Reading experiences become increasingly independent as students spend less class time on oral reading and more in discussion. Emphasis is also placed on listening skills, with respect for the speaker as a central tenet.