Language Arts - Literacy
“All that mankind has done, thought, gained, or been;
it is lying as in magic preservation in the pages of books.”
The Language Arts--reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing—are best learned through integrated language experiences. The Language Arts strands inform and enrich each other as students engage in the integrated act of rehearsal, reflection, and learning. (NJCCCS, 2004).
An effective Language Arts/Literacy program is built on oral language experiences and is enhanced by extensive reading and writing. The fundamentals of literacy are taught in an integrated, developmentally- appropriate manner. The program also incorporates the four assumptions of language learning. First, language is an active process for constructing meaning. Second, language develops in a social context. Third, in order for language ability to become increasingly complex, learners must engage with increasingly complex text and rich conversations. Finally, it is by using and exploring the language arts in multiple dimensions that students master the language (NJCCCS, 2004). The Language Arts/Literacy program provides students with opportunities for and access to experiences that enrich them intellectually and socially and that formally and informally acknowledge a variety of cultural and social points of view.
Literacy is a tool for thinking and communicating. The Language Arts/Literacy program promotes students’ capacity to read, write, speak, listen, and view critically, strategically, and creatively so that they can successfully engage in 21st Century literacies and become knowledge producers as well as knowledge consumers. Students engage in collaboration, analysis, and problem-solving in order to construct meaning in increasingly diverse and participatory contexts.
The Language Arts/Literacy program enhances mutual learning in the classroom as the teacher and students share authority and ownership of literacy learning. The students extend literacy beyond the classroom to explore issues and to use literacy to discover personal and shared meaning in their lives. Students utilize literacy as a tool to “go inward and outward” (Luke, 2003, p.20) and broaden their understanding to the world and become lifelong learners who can participate productively in a global society.
The Language Arts/Literacy program at the Flemington-Raritan School District is guided by the following principles:
- Students will receive explicit instruction in skills, including phonics and decoding.
- Students will read texts and partake in rich discussions that develop rich academic vocabularies and broaden background knowledge.
- The school community will help students develop a love of reading by selecting high-quality works of fiction and nonfiction, reading aloud in class, providing ample opportunity for sustained independent reading, and provide opportunities for students to self-select reading materials.
- Students will read a diverse set of authentic texts balanced across genres, cultures, and historical periods.
- Students will have ample opportunity for discussion and writing about reading in order to develop critical thinking skills and to demonstrate understanding.
- Students will participate in regular practice across multiple forms and genres of writing and will have opportunities to write for a variety of authentic audiences.
- Students will have ample opportunities to watch teachers model metacognition in reading and writing so that students can “see” the thinking of reading and writing.
- Students will demonstrate independence and content knowledge by becoming self-directed learners who use resources to assist them in finding information and evidence.
- Students will have the opportunity to use technology and digital media strategically to enhance their reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language use.
- Students will be exposed to texts that help them seek to understand diverse perspectives and cultures through reading, listening, and communicating effectively.
(adapted from NJ Curriculum Framework)