Language Arts

The teaching of language arts in the grade school permeates every activity in the classroom. The teacher’s ability to speak beautifully to the children is imitated by the children in circle activities, the telling of stories, and the speaking of poetry. Each year a new step is taken toward the development of the children’s understanding of language. Reading begins as the children write their own lesson books. The first stories written or read are those they have heard their teachers tell. Their classmates retell these same stories, and the students copy them from the blackboard into their books using beautiful handwriting and carefully drawn pictures. In this way the children learn to read and write out of a living experience of the language of the story.

The role of literature in the curriculum begins with the first stories and poems told by the teacher or read aloud from a book. While listening, the children develop a sense for the musical nature of language. Stories and poems are chosen to educate speech and engage the feeling life of the child. As the children become independent readers, books are assigned regularly that enhance
the curriculum, whether fiction, history, or biography, and allow the students to broaden their experience of world cultures. Discussions, book reports, plays, and oral presentations augment the reading curriculum. Drama is an important part of the language arts curriculum in the school. As the students learn their lines in a play, they place themselves in another’s situation. The children can relive a moment in history, an uncomfortable situation, and a hearty jest.

Handwriting in the main lesson books begins with upper‐case letters in the first grade with lowercase and cursive writing following shortly. Second and third graders are presented with lessons regarding the basic kinds of words that make up language: nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. In the fourth grade the children are introduced to all the parts of speech, punctuation, and the simple tenses of verbs. In fifth grade, active and passive verbs, prepositional phrases, and the structure of paragraphs are taken up. Sixth graders are taught the uses of the conditional sentence, a means of developing a feeling for style. The seventh and eighth grade grammar curriculum continues to present a deeper understanding of the grammatical foundations of English. Expressing personal experiences, feelings, and ideas in writing, students develop effective techniques in various forms of written expression.