Language Arts

Lower Level

In the Primary classroom, it is through immersion in quality literature that children develop their reading, writing, and language skills.  As much as possible, the Reading and Language Arts program is integrated with our Main Lesson units.  Through nursery rhymes, poems, fairy tales, fables, tall tales, legends and myths, quality fiction, author studies, and non-fiction literature, children develop their understanding of literature, other cultures, author styles, and human nature in addition to basic reading and writing skills.  In order to better meet the needs of each child, multiple modes of learning are incorporated into classroom lessons.  Thus, the lessons include the visual, auditory, kinesthetic, artistic, and musical aspects of an overall theme.  

 In a multi-age classroom, students work at their own pace, without comparisons to others, and they teach each other through paired reading and group activities.  Children of all ages in the group, participate in learning language skills through whole group, small group, paired, and individual activities.  Younger children are often introduced to advanced concepts within the context of the whole group so that they can begin to build on them through the years.   

The writing program consists largely of responding to literature in a personal way, working in the pattern or style of a particular author or poem, or developing creative fiction and non-fiction.  The students identify and write about character traits, aspects of the setting of a story, the plot development, and other salient points brought out in class discussions.  It is through these authentic and meaningful activities that the children develop a love of reading and writing as well as pride in their accomplishments.

Upper Level

The goal of Language Arts program is to create life-long readers and writers by providing a breadth of experience over the five years of the program.   Each year, the students read one independently selected book from each of eleven different genres: realistic fiction, mystery, folk literature, autobiography, science fiction, fantasy, graphic novel, poetry, informational report, historical fiction, and biography.  Students respond to each reading with a book report, while a journal of guided questions is maintained for in-class reading. Independent and in-class reading groups are the platform for teaching critical analysis and understanding the elements of literature.

Learning to write well requires that students explore a variety of writing projects, including informational essay, persuasive essay, personal narratives, and biographies, from which they learn about the structural elements of writing: idea, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions, and presentation.   These lessons build throughout the years, adding onto and reinforcing the foundations from the previous years, while introducing new stylistic and grammatical elements.   The students engage in personal and peer critiques, working to constantly grow as a writer.  Each year, they create a writing portfolio, in which they select their favorite four pieces of writing from the year. 

Fluency in reading and public speaking are important elements of Language Arts and Main Lesson.  Each week, students memorize and recite poems to improve these skills.  Poetry is also used to improve understanding of literary devices and knowledge of the forms of poetry.