Let’s Talk Language Arts
This week’s Blog Cruise Question asks: What are your favorite resources for the ages and grades that you are teaching? I’ve decided that I want to explore my favorite resources for Language Arts.
Language Arts as a subject might better be expressed as the Art of Communication. As a subject LA strives to teach the skills necessary for communication.
We can categorize these skills into two very broad areas: Receptive and Expressive. Within receptive language skills we find reading and listening skills. Forms of expressive language skills include writing and speaking.
For years I’ve tried to find a comprehensive Language Arts Curriculum that covered all the skills my girls needed to communicate effectively. After 14 years, I still haven’t found the one single LA program that “does it all” in a way that works for us.
Instead, I’ve found that it has really helped to break down those skills and then seek products that work best for my family to teach those skills.
Some areas like vocabulary cross the boundaries of not just skill areas, but subjects as well such as science. Although I do have the girls learn subject specific vocabulary, I do like having something that teaches vocabulary in a general way that would improve language skills. Thanks to the Review Crew, I’ve discovered Vocabulary Cartoons. For teaching middle and high school students, I really love using SAT Word Power. It’s not been the only thing we’ve used for teaching vocabulary, but it is my current favorite!
Spelling has been the bane of my existence or the thorn in my side, at least with my oldest daughter. Spelling is the flip side of reading. When reading you are decoding symbols, and with spelling you are encoding symbols. A friend of mine loves All About Spelling so much that she finally convinced me to try it. Oh how I wish I had discovered this years ago to use with my oldest daughter. AAS is my favorite spelling program for teaching spelling at the elementary level. Supergirl loves it!
Being able to write well starts with actually being able to form letters. I love Handwriting without Tears. It was written by an Occupational Therapist and teaches penmanship from a developmental aspect. I have used HWT with all four girls and I have to say that we have had no tears!
Other skill areas include reading, writing and speech (both making and giving speeches). I really haven’t found a “teach how to read” program that I love. I have taught my girls to read and 3 of them read really well. The 4th has neurological issues but she *is* reading short vowel words like cat, mad, pig, etc.
And writing? I’ve really struggled with teaching writing. My Access has been wonderful for helping the girls to organize their thoughts before writing and to work through the re-writing, editing and revising aspects of writing but I haven’t found a product that screams: “This is it!”. I’m very happy with My Access and you can read my review for my thoughts.
I really do wish I had discovered the single comprehensive product that would cover, reading, writing, penmanship, vocabulary, grammar, speech and anything else I’m sure I’ve forgotten. For now though, I am just thankful that I’ve been able to find some pieces and parts that have worked really well for my family.
What are your favorite resources for Language Arts?
You can click below to read the my Crew Mates’ answers to this week’s Blog Cruise.