Igniting a Love of Literature, Creative Writing and Theater
Our goal for Language Arts is to encourage a lifetime love of the written and spoken word. We select curriculum materials that view children’s reading, writing and oral language development as a continuum from pre-reading and writing to the level of mastery. We use materials in our Language Arts program to identify each child as an individual with his or her place on this learning continuum. Rather than label students as “underachievers,” “average” or “gifted,” we help guide each toward mastery at his or her own pace and level. Then, we use guidelines provided in our Language Arts textbooks to develop lessons for the whole class.
A core value for our Language Arts program is the use of quality children’s literature. We encourage teachers to carefully select materials for their classroom library, and to use the classroom itself to immerse the children in a print-rich environment. Book displays, creative posters, informative wall charts, labels, letters, and newspapers—all contribute to children’s literacy. Reading aloud is an excellent way to nurture a love of books—especially if you can bring the stories to life with vivid narration, and allow your child to take part in the story.
Writing / Creative Writing
In addition, we encourage regular, enjoyable periods of writing. Most children enjoy combining Art with words, so allowing children to produce a “real” illustrated book of their own can be a great motivation. Our priority is to help the children get their ideas on the page, and then to follow up with a mechanics of a writing exercise that explains and corrects common errors.
We have found that this approach to grammar makes more sense to children and is easier for them to retain. Our literacy program provides developmentally appropriate lessons to expose students to the various genres of reading in both fiction and non-fiction including folktales, myths, legends, fantasy, poetry and more. They also receive modeled instruction in the various forms of writing, including but not limited to: recountive, narrative, expository, persuasive, descriptive, poetry, and letterwriting.
Theater and storytelling are also important features of our Language Arts program. Sometimes, the same student who struggles to get words on paper is fearless in front of an audience. By cultivating a child’s strength in one area, we often find we can gradually encourage growth in other areas where he or she is less confident. Circle and school meetings provide venues for impromptu performances by teachers, while readers’ theater, classroom plays, and play-writing can be excellent means to engage students in other subjects throughout the school day. Social Studies, for example, can be livened up with theatrical activity as can Science, Physical Education, Math and Foreign Language.