Lower School

Grade Level Standards

The grade level outlines in the side bar provide the standards for each grade and the topics in each core subject that will be learned by the students during the course of the year. The standards are designed to provide an overview of content and subject matter. Teachers will continue to strive for excellence in their students and teach toward the aim of mastery. Click on the links to the right to view TCA’s standards for each grade.


The Riggs Method

The Riggs Method incorporates the phonics-based spelling with rules system dating from the Webster-Oxford standardization of English spelling, but also provides realistic phonemic/graphemic correspondences from contemporary dictionaries. It is possible to teach correct spelling as well as regional dialects and varied pronunciations across the English-speaking world. This phonetic system and the rules of English were regularly taught in colleges of education and were incorporated in orthography student texts during the pre-“Dick and Jane” era (the 1920’s and before), in a time when children who were privileged to attend school almost all became highly literate. It simply requires a realistic alignment of worldwide speech patterns with the English spelling system (and our slight revision of the phonograms). See Dr. Linnea Ehri’s research and commentary on the importance of the grapheme over the phoneme.


Augmenting the instruction to finely integrate grammar and syntax, creative and organizational composition skills, and vocabulary development saves time, money and attention, and points out the relevance to that which the student already knows. We use roots, prefixes, suffixes, homophones and homographs, antonyms, synonyms and graphic organizers to provide for a high-expectation, skills-based, complete language arts method designed to accompany any vocabulary-rich literature of the user’s choice. Chronologically arranged daily lesson plans, with initial “how to” scripting, make the method teacher friendly and potentially the most creative program any teacher or parent may be privileged to use. It is the most cost effective, in that it equips a teacher for life for about $200. Students use only paper, pencil and their minds.

Instruction begins at a 6-year-old’s listening and/or spoken comprehensible vocabulary levels which researchers Chall, Seashore and Flesch determined to be between 4,000 and 24,000 words. Because phonics instruction is first, fast, complete and multi-sensory (the latter to address all neurologically based “learning styles”). Beginners very quickly spell, write, and then read what they can already listen to and/or say with understanding. Primary children find this fast-paced, common sense, independence-establishing experience challenging, exhilarating and fun! Remedial students of all ages love this program because it doesn’t look “babyish.” They can easily be convinced that it truly is a life-changing college course in linguistics simply because it is so different from any other phonics system they may have learned.

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