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As a parent, do you have a clear idea of what an English Language Arts education is? Do you know which concepts are incorporated into English Language Arts teaching? How do you know that your child is progressing with English Language Arts education?
English Language Arts plays a vital role in your child’s education. In fact, it is the very foundation upon which all of your child’s other learning occurs. A quality English Language Arts education enables your child to successfully engage in all facets of communication: reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing, and visually representing. It also prepares your child for applying these critical skills to adulthood, in both the workplace and in society. These six facets of English Language Arts education are the subject of today’s blog post.
Reading: This is the process in which students use strategies to decode words and understand texts. Reading involves learning the skills of understanding and comprehending the written word. Through reading practice, students learn what each word means and how it works with others to form sentences, paragraphs, stories, and books. The elementary school level is the right time for developing these skills, and is thus a crucial time to encourage your child’s desire for reading proficiency.
What you can do: Since abundant reading material can pique your child’s curiosity about independent reading, encourage your child to read at home by providing a variety of reading material, including fiction and non-fiction books, and magazines. The public library system is a great resource for obtaining children’s reading material, including digital books available for personal tablets. Take your child on a field trip to the local library and he or she will appreciate and enjoy all the age-appropriate reading possibilities! Choosing and taking favorite selections home to read will surely make your child an eager reader.
Writing: Forming letters and making words is not enough when it comes to this skill. Your child needs to know how to communicate through writing with clear cut and effective use of words. In school, students should be preparing to convey their thoughts and ideas through assignments. To a great extent, this involves an understanding of spelling and grammar rules, sentence and paragraph structure, style and voice, and other complexities of written communication.
What you can do: Encourage your child to write about anything that interests him or her. Ideas for writing include journals, diaries, portfolios, and creative stories or poetry. Your child will soon enjoy the freedom of expressing whatever is on his or her mind as it is revealed on paper, available to appreciate, reread, and share at any time. If your child shows interest, play soft instrumental music in the background to help the creative ideas flow! You can also purchase color pencils or markers that add colorful art to your child’s written productions. At-home free writing time is sure to please even the most reluctant young writer!
Speaking: This is the skill that teaches your child how to use emotion, volume, tone, and facial expressions to communicate the meaning of words. This skill is often developed naturally by listening to others, but not in all cases. Elementary-aged children need to learn this skill because they are often focused only on identifying the words and not the purpose behind them while reading aloud. Students also require instruction with understanding the use of time and pacing as they learn how to orally communicate.
What you can do: Cultivate a habit of storytelling with your child. You can do this by enthusiastically modeling stories out loud that you know from memory, and then having your child retell them to you. Next, have your child come up with and share his or her stories with you (whether fiction or non-fiction). Having your child share stories out loud improves narration skills and the ability to convey thoughts through words. When your child is ready, have him or her tell stories in a group. This way, he or she will be exposed to more words, expanding vocabulary. Your child will become a confident speaker at school as well as at play!
Listening: This, of course, is a skill that we begin developing as a newborn. The first thing we learn is to listen for clues from the world around us. It is the first language skill that we develop before speaking, writing, or gesturing. Listening plays a vital role in your child’s learning, and enables him or her to process what is heard for deeper meaning and purpose. So considerable attention should be provided for developing this skill during the elementary school years.
What you can do: Engage your child in conversations about the news stories you watch on television. This will not only improve your child’s listening skills, but will help to make him or her a well-informed and intelligent consumer of information. Additionally, discussing what is happening in the news can improve your child’s intellectual relationships with both children and adults. Your child’s teachers will be impressed!
Viewing: This is the English Language Arts skill that involves observation and interpretation of visual media. Every child must learn to critically observe the images around him or her, process the content of the images, and comprehend their meanings. When your child sees an image, he or she should be able to understand the purpose of it. Teaching students about this skill at an elementary age can lay a firm foundation for the critical thinking skills they will need ahead.
What you can do: Ask your child to look for advertisements around him or her, whether they are in magazines, on television, or along highways and streets. Ask questions like, “What is the purpose of that ad?” and “ What is the meaning of that ad?” As your child develops this important viewing skill, he or she will begin to think more critically about the visual media that is presented in the world and discern its value. As a bonus, your child will become a savvy customer, too!
Visually Representing: Your child has to be properly guided to represent his or her ideas visually. This involves organizing thoughts or events in such a manner that another person can observe and understand the content accurately. The complexity of the medium used for this does not matter, but it should make sense to the viewer.
What you can do: Ask your child to give a small presentation at home where others visually interpret a piece of his or her work. These presentations can be such items as book reports, posters, and artwork, all of which convey specific messages and meanings. Let your child do this as an activity with a group of friends where each child observes, understands, and discusses the content of the others’ presentations. Having the presenters dress up as “subject matter experts” on their projects can make this activity especially fun!
Another thing: A commitment to helping your child improve his or her English Language Arts skills is just the first step in supporting your child’s academic success. As you proceed, emphasize the significance of each skill one by one, and repeat concepts as needed. Remember how writing letters leads to forming words, and then forming sentences, and then to forming a story? In the same manner, each English Language Arts skill develops another of your child’s abilities. Be patient while implementing the recommended measures here over time, and seek support from educators or other parents whenever needed.
Finally, as a parent, you are well aware of the critical importance of a quality English Language Arts education for your child. 98thPercentile is here to help! We deliver this six-faceted English Language Arts education to our students through our accelerated learning content-mastery program. If you are interested in partnering with us for your child’s English Language Arts education needs, Try us for one week for FREE with no strings attached.
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