Stamford American Elementary School Curriculum Guide - page 22

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Language Arts
Language is fundamental to learning and permeates our curriculum. By learning language
as well as learning about and through language, students develop an appreciation of the
richness of language and a love of literature. Our program arranges the essential student
development into three main strands:
• Oral communication
• Written communication
• Visual communication
These communication strands are organized into sub-strands which include listening
and speaking, reading and writing, viewing and presenting. Each of the sub-strands is
addressed separately, although in practice they are interactive elements of the program.
Oral Communication: Listening and Speaking
Oral communication encompasses all aspects of listening and speaking skills that are
essential for language development, for learning, and for relating to others. Listening
involves listening to people and to texts for general meaning (i.e. for gist) and for precise
meaning (i.e. for the key points). Students learn how to listen attentively, to understand
and evaluate what they hear, to think about both literal and inferred meanings, and to
respond appropriately.
Speaking involves pronunciation, intonation and stress of speech: vocabulary
development, communicative competence, the use of grammar, and the speaker’s
fluency and accuracy. Oral language is used to communicate, reflect, gather, process and
present information. Speakers use oral language to ask and answer questions, relate and
retell, persuade, talk about needs, feelings, ideas and opinions – and to contribute to
discussions in a range of formal and informal situations.
Written Communication: Reading and Writing
Reading is for enjoyment, instruction and information, and reading helps us to understand
and clarify ideas, feelings, thoughts and opinions. Literature in particular offers a means
of understanding ourselves and others and has the power to influence and structure
thinking. Students are introduced to a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts and have
opportunities to read for their own interest, pleasure and for information.
The purpose of reading is to gain meaning from text. The process of reading is interactive
and involves the reader’s purpose for reading, the reader’s prior knowledge and
experience and the text itself. The reader learns about direction, spacing, punctuation
cues and about the general features of text. Effective reading depends on the skillful
integration and application of semantic cues (meaning), syntactic cues (structure), and
graphophonic cues (sound-symbol relationships), using a variety of reading strategies (e.g.
using picture cues, context cues, prediction, phonics, sight vocabulary, punctuation and
syntax).
Students learn how to understand, interpret and respond to the ideas, attitudes and
feelings expressed in various texts; to think critically about what they read and to be able
to make predictions and inferences based on information that is both explicit and implicit
in a text.
Writing helps make sense of the world. It is a powerful means by which to remember,
develop, organize, gain self-knowledge and communicate ideas, feelings and information.
Purpose and audience contribute to the form and substance of writing as well as to its
style and tone. Learning to write is a developmental process and students initially focus
on meaning rather than accuracy. Grammar, spelling, handwriting, punctuation and
paragraphing are taught gradually through writing practice.
The writing process involves creating an environment where students can acquire the
skills to achieve written products for a variety of purposes. The written product can be
Course Descriptions: Lower Elementary to Upper Elementary Program
- Kindergarten 2 to Grade 5: Age 5-11
1...,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21 23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,...40