Learning Language Arts Through Literature for Grades 3 to 12

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Learning Language Arts Through Literature for Grades 3 to 12

Teaching language arts often seems messy and disorganized. The appeal of an integrated program is almost irresistible. Instead of a book for reading, one for grammar, one for spelling, one for vocabulary, one for handwriting, one for composition, and one for thinking skills, why not wrap all of these studies around quality literature? This is exactly the approach suggested by the veteran educator Ruth Beechick. Starting with her sample lessons, the authors of the Learning Language Arts Through Literature series, Diane Welch and Susan Simpson, developed more lessons of their own and eventually collaborated with Dr. Beechick in the preparation of this series. Now after fifteen years of publication, a significant revision, and lots of awards and acclaim starting with Mary Pride’s naming it the "Best New Language Arts Program" and now the more recent inclusion in Cathy Duffy’s 100 Top Picks, the series continues to be a favorite among homeschoolers. Its ease of use, not to mention the enjoyment and enthusiasm for reading and writing shown by its students, are strong recommendations. Countless students have proven that written language is best learned by reading fine literature and by working with good writing models.

At the heart of this approach are the dictation lessons based on excerpts from great literary works. Each week you dictate a passage to your children. The rest of the week is then spent on instruction based on this passage. As an example, Lesson 10 from the Tan book starts with a paragraph from The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong. On the first day, the student is expected to write the passage from dictation after taking note of the usage of quotation marks. Words missed in writing the dictation are incorporated into a spelling lesson which also includes coverage of words spelling the long /i/ sound with igh as in light. Next is a study on homonyms centered around the usage of hole in the passage and how the meaning would be changed if whole were used. Other homonyms are also studied and then the student is asked to write a sentence using a homonym pair. The second day’s lesson starts with an examination of point of view from which a story is told. The student examines this passage as well as other stories to look for various points of view and then is asked to rewrite the passage from a different point of view. Lesson work on the third day is on an example of independent clauses linked by semicolons included in the passage; it then progresses to a general discussion of independent clauses versus phrases. Again the student is asked to rewrite the passage making changes in the sentence structure. Also included in this day’s lesson is a study on the emotions in a story and how good writers use descriptions to draw the reader into the action and to create a mood. The lesson concludes with a short writing assignment (paragraph) and a review of spelling words. Day four is a study of plot utilizing a helpful plot line graphic organizer and including another short writing assignment. The week’s lesson is concluded on day five by choosing one of several activities including writing a short story containing the five plot elements. Each week’s lesson is followed by a page of Review Activities. The teacher can choose any or all of the activities.

There are full-length book studies (usually four) included with each course. For example, The Bronze Bow is studied in the Tan Book. Starting with an introduction and summary (found only in the Teacher Book), the study continues with a vocabulary worksheet and discussion questions. A list of eight activities concludes the study with the student being instructed to choose one or two. Some of these studies incorporate activities from other disciplines such as the mapping exercise from the Carry On, Mr. Bowditch study found earlier in the Tan Book. Occasionally, there are special instruction segments like the How to Research section in the Tan Book.

There are 36 week-long book studies and dictation-based lessons in the course. The dictation lessons are drawn from a wide variety of literature. To give you some idea of the breadth of these literature selections, here is the list from the Tan Book: Bambi, The Eagle, Little House in the Big Woods, The Story of a Bad Boy, Prince Caspian, The Bronze Bow, King of the Wind, The Wheel on the School, Jest ‘Fore Christmas, Swiss Family Robinson, Swallows and Amazons, Big Red, Kidnapped, Robinson Crusoe, Wind in the Willows, Caddie Woodlawn, The Gettysburg Address, Where the Red Fern Grows, The Railway Children Psalm 136:1-5, The Horse and His Boy, The House at Pooh Corner, Anne of Green Gables, The Crow and the Pitcher, Little Women, Invincible Louisa, and Matthew 5:13-16. Assessments are included after every six lessons. The Student Activity Book is consumable and contains some instruction and background information to the student as well as generous space to write assignments. These books also contain Enrichment Activities that are found only in the student book although the answers are in the back of the non-consumable teacher’s book. These contain all the content from the Student Activity Books in 2/3 page width columns placed side-by-side in the center of the book (two-page spread). These inside columns sometimes contain information not found in the Student Activity Book such as the introduction and background information for the book studies. The outside 1/3 page contain teacher’s notes as well as all the answers.

These courses are very user-friendly. Obviously, a portion of every lesson includes teacher-student interaction but teacher preparation is minimal and students are often given assignments to work on independently. Everything is laid out step-by-step for the teacher and all background and necessary information is provided. Although there is a great deal of overlap between teacher and student book, there are enough differences that both are necessary. You will need to have access to several reference books - dictionary, thesaurus, and encyclopedias - but library usage will work here. In addition to the book study selections (often available from the library but which we sell for your convenience), you will need only general school supplies - pencils, paper, colored pencils, drawing paper, notebook, file folders, and construction paper.

While most of the favorite features of the LLATL series are also part of the high school courses, there are a few differences. One user-friendly book is written to both teacher and student with teacher helps and answers located in the back. The 36 lessons are arranged in units - four per course. Teacher/student interaction continues to be an important part of these courses and discussions about the various pieces of literature are encouraged with thought-provoking questions. The 3rd editions of the Gold books also feature novel summaries and additional helps for student and teacher. These courses are written as college prep courses and may be used at any high school level.

Although the books are graded, some parents are unsure of where to begin their child in the series. To help parents decide, Common Sense Press has made placement tests available on their website at http://commonsensepress.com/llatl_placement_tests.htm. ~ Janice



Download a Scope & Sequence
Download a Yellow Placement Test Download a Yellow Teacher Book Sample
Download an Orange Placement Test Download an Orange Teacher Sample
Download a Purple Placement Test Download a Purple Teacher Book Sample
Download a Tan Placement Test Download a Tan Teacher Book Sample
Download a Green Placement Test Download a Green Teacher Book Sample
Download a Gray Placement Test Download a Gray Teacher Book Sample
Download a Gold Book American Literature Sample Download a Gold Book British Literature Sample
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All > Language Arts > COMPLETE PROGRAMS > Learning Language Arts Through Literature > Learning Language Arts Through Literature for Grades 3 to 12 >

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Learning Language Arts Through Literature Gold - American Lit Item #: 000336
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