Language Arts

Philosophy

Reading has traditionally been separated from writing, while grammar, usage, spelling and vocabulary are often isolated and taught as separate subjects.

The Altoona Area School District's elementary language arts program stresses the interrelationships of the language processes of reading, writing, listening, and speaking, each of which is enhanced by use of the others.

The Pennsylvania Comprehensive Reading Plan II (PCRP II) provides the guidelines upon which the Elementary Language Arts Program is built.

"Experiences" mean the language events in which students participate at school and which affect their learning outside of school as well.

The five critical experiences are:
  • Reading: Transacting with Text
  • Writing: Composing Texts
  • Extending Reading and Writing
  • Investigating Language
  • Learning to Learn

Goals
  • Comprehend, respond to, and appreciate works of literature.
  • Use a variety of reading comprehension strategies and will develop the ability to monitor and adjust these strategies to better comprehend what they encounter in print.
  • Increase vocabularies when listening, speaking, and writing with direct assistance by the teacher in learning new words and in learning methods to unlock meaning prior to, during and after language arts experiences.
  • Learn decoding strategies, including phonics, in meaningful contexts.
  • Read and respond in a variety of ways to literary works, selected with the help of the teacher, that extend or enhance the basal reading program.
  • Become aware that writing is a means of clarifying and organizing one's own thinking and that it is a process which embodies several stages, including pre-writing, drafting, receiving responses, revising editing, and post-writing activities, including evaluation.
  • Learning the conventions of the English language, including correct usage, grammatical correctness, spelling, punctuation and capitalization, through listening, speaking, reading and writing and through direct instruction when and if necessary.
  • Develop oral communication skills through both formal and informal speaking activities.
  • Respond both orally and in writing to questions which help them to acquire and use higher-order thinking skills in all subject areas.
  • Become strategic readers by developing skills for assessing and monitoring their own performance and progress in the language arts.