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English / Language Arts

Language Arts CurriculumLanguage Arts Resources

The goal of all language arts is clear communication.

It's also one of two main required subject areas (along with math) in state standardized testing. A knowledge of language arts is required to drive a car, order from a menu, be understood, read subtitles on foreign films, pray, and most other useful activity known to humankind. Language is one of the primary ingredients for successful human culture and civilization.

Yet we at Exodus Books talk to parents every day who are unclear exactly what constitutes language arts, how to teach them, if composition is as important as reading, etc. They might think terms like English, composition and reading are interchangeable. Or they teach a single element of language arts (like vocabulary) and are confused when their kids score poorly on a grammar test. Or....or....or....

But what ARE the "Language Arts"?

The term Language Arts refers to the tools needed to read, write, speak, and understand a given language. Yes, it's a broad definition. But it also means the collective language arts are all interrelated, and that should actually be a cause for relief rather than fear.

Because of this interrelatedness, splitting the various topics into stand-alone subjects is nearly impossible.At the same time, all kids have strengths and weaknesses, so you can apply focus and de-emphasiswhere needed. Topics that fall under the LA umbrella include (but aren't limited to) phonics, penmanship/handwriting, reading comprehension, listening skills (dictation), spelling and vocabulary, grammar, composition, research skills, speech, rhetoric, and more.

Does that mean you have to find a single program that covers all this territory? By no means. There aren't many "total language arts" programs available, and fewer still that live up to that promise. So does that mean you have to find curricula for each topic, and then somehow manage to correlate everything into a unified whole for your kiddos? Well....yeah, kinda.

A goal a day keeps the headaches away (and CSD, and bad grades, etc.)

Yes, this sounds like a lot. Be assured: it doesn't just sound like a lot, it is a lot. That's why you set and keep goals. You don't have to teach ten language arts topics a day. Most of the skills represent means, not ends. The end of language arts study is the acquisition of good communication skills; the means to that acquisition include phonics, spelling, composition, and so on.

Phonics is a means to deciphering words; grammar provides the rules for clear writing; a large vocabulary increases a student's ability to understand and relay information effectively. Don't forget the big picture: language arts translates directly into communication skills. If your student is steadily aquiring the tools needed to communicate well, you're on the right track. If not, set some goals.

Well, set some goals even if you're on the right track. Does your child understand the rules of grammar but still can't spell? Devote extra time to spelling and vocabulary. Are there gaps in her knowledge of sentence-construction? Focus on composition for awhile. Does he excel at each of the language arts? Press him further and have him study rhetoric.

Don't tie yourself to one program; keep your kids' abilities and learning styles in mind, and find coursework that caters specifically to their needs as well as your own. Remember that there is a progression within the language arts spectrum, that phonics precedes reading, spelling precedes vocabulary building, grammar and composition precedes writing the next Pulitzer Prize-winner.

Keep the short- and long-term goals in mind at every stage so you don't get bogged down in unnecessary details or try to get all the way to homeplate when you haven't even rounded second. Why teach phonics? So kids can learn to read. Why teach kids how to spell? So they can be understood through writing. All language arts instruction boils down to the desire to form good communicators.

Our advice, for what it's worth...

Finding what works for your children will take effort. There are several learning styles, and gajillions of teaching philosophies. Not all of them work; not all programs stay consistent in their approach; not every child responds negatively to straight-up instruction vs. colorful pictures and hands-on activities. Our product reviews are intended to help you navigate the many options, but ultimately the decisions are yours to make.

Just below you'll see the main topics included under the "Language Arts" umbrella. We've tried to group them in difficulty order (phonics first, rhetoric last) to help you understand where your student currently stands. And though we've said it a thousand times already, never ever forget that teaching spelling isn't about teaching spelling—it's about equipping students to be the kinds of people who can express, understand and exchange ideas (from "Clear the table!" to "I doubt, therefore I am.") with a high degree of grace and proficiency.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.

 

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766 Items found Print
1001 Commonly Misspelled Words
by Robert Magnan & Mary Lou Santovec
from McGraw-Hill
for 10th-Adult
in Writing Reference (Location: B16-05A)
$11.25
2012 World Book Encyclopedia - CD-ROM
from World Book
for 7th-adult
in Encyclopedias (Location: ARF-02C)
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501 English Verbs
by Thomas R. Beyer, Jr., Ph.D.
2nd edition from Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
for 9th-Adult
in Grammar Reference (Location: B15-02A)
$18.99
70 Basic Phonogram Cards
by Wanda Sanseri
5th edition from Back Home Industries
for 1st-4th grade
in Spell to Write and Read (Location: B09-02A)
$14.45
70 Basic Phonograms - CD
by Wanda Sanseri
from Back Home Industries
for Kindergarten-4th grade
in Spell to Write and Read (Location: B09-02A)
$7.65 $5.10 (1 in stock)
A Picture Dictionary for Children
by Garnette Watters, S.A. Courtis
from Grosset & Dunlap
for Preschool-2nd grade
in Dictionaries (Location: ARF-01A)
$10.00 (1 in stock)
ABC's Flipper (modern style)
from Christopher Lee Publications
for Nursery-1st grade
$7.96
Adam of the Road - TLP Bundle
by Barbara Blakey
for 3rd-6th grade
in Total Language Plus Guides (Location: B18-06A)
$26.05
Adam of the Road - TLP Guide
Total Language Plus Literature Guides
from Total Language Plus
for 6th-8th Grade
in Total Language Plus Guides (Location: B18-06A)
$21.95
Alpha List
by Wanda Sanseri
from Back Home Industries
for 1st-4th grade
in Spell to Write and Read (Location: B09-02A)
$8.50 (1 in stock)
Alphabet Makers
by Hyatt Moore
from Wycliffe Bible Translators
for 8th-Adult
in History of Books & Language (Location: B03-00B)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
American Dictionary of the English Language
by Noah Webster
10th edition from Foundation for American Christian Education
for 7th-Adult
in Dictionaries (Location: ARF-01A)
$38.00 (4 in stock)
American Heritage Desk Dictionary
4th edition from Houghton Mifflin
for 7th-Adult
in Dictionaries (Location: ARF-01A)
$14.95
American Heritage Dictionary
by Houghton Mifflin Company
5th edition from Dell Publishing
for 7th-Adult
in Dictionaries (Location: ARF-01A)
$7.99
American Heritage Student Thesaurus
by Editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries
Reprint from Houghton Mifflin
for 7th-12th grade
in Thesauruses (Location: ARF-02B)
$18.95
American Literature: Nonfiction - TLP Guide
from Total Language Plus
for 11th-12th grade
in Total Language Plus Guides (Location: B18-06A)
$21.95
American Sign Language Dictionary
by Martin L.A. Sternberg
Revised ed. from HarperCollins
for 7th-Adult
in Sign Language (Location: B14-03C)
$7.00 (1 in stock)
Amos Fortune, Free Man - TLP Bundle
in Total Language Plus Guides (Location: B18-06A)
$26.05
Amos Fortune, Free Man - TLP Guide
Total Language Plus Literature Guides
from Total Language Plus
for 5th-6th Grade
in Total Language Plus Guides (Location: B18-06A)
Animal Farm - TLP Bundle
in Total Language Plus Guides (Location: B18-06A)
$16.64
Animal Farm - TLP Focus Guide
from Total Language Plus
in Total Language Plus Guides (Location: B18-06A)
$8.50
Anne of Green Gables - TLP Bundle
in Total Language Plus Guides (Location: B18-06A)
$25.15
Anne of Green Gables - TLP Guide
Total Language Plus Literature Guides
by Barbara Blakey
from Total Language Plus
for 7th-9th Grade
in Total Language Plus Guides (Location: B18-06A)
$21.95
Antonyms Wrap-Up Keys
from Learning Wrap-Ups
for 3rd-6th grade
in Grammar Reference (Location: B15-02A)
$9.99
Arabic Dictionary and Phrasebook
by Mahmoud Gaafar, Jane Wrightwick
from Hippocrene Books
for 9th-Adult
in Clearance: Foreign Language (Location: BLG-03A)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Around the World in Eighty Days - TLP Bundle
in Total Language Plus Guides (Location: B18-06A)
$24.25
Around the World in Eighty Days - TLP Guide
Total Language Plus Literature Guides
from Total Language Plus
for 9th-11th Grade
in Total Language Plus Guides (Location: B18-06A)
$21.95
Art of Fiction
by John Gardner
from Vintage Classics
for 9th-Adult
in Writing Reference (Location: B16-05A)
$11.21 $6.75 (1 in stock)
Art of Styling Sentences
by Ann Longknife, K. D. Sullivan
4th edition from Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
for 9th-Adult
in Clearance: Language Arts (Location: ACL-LAN)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Associated Press Stylebook 2010
from Associated Press
for 9th-12th grade
in Clearance: Language Arts (Location: ACL-LAN)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Basher: Grammar
in Grammar Reference (Location: B15-02A)
$6.00 (1 in stock)
Beall's Learning Games Phonogram Fun Packet
by Bealls' Learning Games
from Beall's Learning Games
for Kindergarten-4th grade
in Spell to Write and Read (Location: B09-02A)
$29.95
Becoming a Master Student
by Dave Ellis
13th edition from Cengage Learning
for 9th-Adult
in Clearance: General Interest (Location: C08-04)
$10.00 (1 in stock)
Becoming a Writer
by Dorothea Brande
from Penguin Putnam
for 9th-12th grade
in Clearance: Language Arts (Location: ACL-LAN)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Behind the Mask
by Ruth Heller
from PaperStar Books
for 1st-4th grade
in Grammar Picture Books (Location: B15-02B)
$8.99
Ben and Me - TLP Bundle
in Total Language Plus Guides (Location: B18-06A)
$13.95
Ben and Me - TLP Focus Guide
from Total Language Plus
in Total Language Plus Guides (Location: B18-06A)
$8.50
Bible Friends Activity Book
3rd edition from A Beka Books
for 1st grade
Birder's Dictionary
by Randall T. Cox
1st edition from Falcon Publishing
for 4th-Adult
in Clearance: Science & Health (Location: ACL-SCI)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Black Learning Log
by Wanda Sanseri
from Back Home Industries
for Kindergarten-4th grade
in Spell to Write and Read (Location: B09-02A)
$10.20
Blended Structure and Style in Composition
by James B. Webster
2nd edition from Institute for Excellence in Writing
Writing Curriculum for 2nd-12th grade
$35.00 $24.00 (1 in stock)
Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation
by Jane Straus with Lester Kaufman & Tom Stern
11th edition from Jossey-Bass
for 6th-Adult
in Grammar Reference (Location: B15-02A)
$16.95
British Poetry Anthology
from Common Sense Press
for 9th-12th grade
$8.00 $6.00 (1 in stock)
Bronze Bow - TLP Bundle
in Total Language Plus Guides (Location: B18-06A)
$26.95
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Total Language Plus Literature Guides
from Total Language Plus
for 7th-9th Grade
in Total Language Plus Guides (Location: B18-06A)
Bugaboo Review
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1st edition from New World Library
for 7th-12th grade
in Grammar Reference (Location: B15-02A)
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Building Language - Teacher Manual
from Royal Fireworks Press
for Kindergarten-5th grade
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But Not Forsaken
by Helen Good Brenneman
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for 7th-9th grade
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C.S. Lewis Encyclopedia
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