Thursday, August 08, 2013

Choosing a Language Arts Curriculum

Choosing a Language Arts program can be overwhelming. There are so many things to consider that encompass Language Arts; things such as phonics, grammar, reading comprehension, vocabulary, writing.  You can choose to use different curricula for each subject within Language Arts. You can choose to supplement a curriculum that doesn't cover everything with another workbook or curriculum; for example a spelling curriculum. You can also choose one curriculum that covers all the subjects listed above.

Once we've taught a child how to decode words or sound them out, the next step is to help them to improve their word recognition, which leads to better fluency. This is followed with reading comprehension. I want to nurture my child's love for reading.  So it's important to me that my child enjoys the program or curriculum I choose.  My child is a visual learner; so I need to take that into consideration. Another way I nurture that love for reading is to read with my child and to let my child see me make time to read for fun and relaxation.  There are times I read to my child and end on a cliffhanger to be continued the next day. When they were learning to read, we would buddy read for at least 5 minutes each day. I would stop occasionally to point out things in the pictures or in the story. I would ask them questions. Sometimes I ask what they think is going to happen next. 

There are ways we can supplement a curriculum, whether it covers the subjects or not that can be fun.  Playing games is one fun way to supplement and reinforce what they're learning from whatever curriculum we choose. We have board games such as 4-Way Spelling, Bananagrams or Silly Sentences, to name a few.  Two of my kids love board games as much as I do.  My youngest daughter also enjoys playing vocabulary and spelling games online.  Making lapbooks, flipcharts or flip books are creative ways to supplement.

With my older children I changed our Language Arts curriculum several times throughout the years.  Sometimes we learn by trial and error.  As it often turns out, our oldest child was our practice child.  She's still managed to do well, though. However, I'm happy to say we've found a curriculum that we haven't felt the desire nor the need to change. Our Language Arts program covers all the topics I mentioned.  It engages my daughter and holds her attention.  So although one can say we supplement because we play games and read a lot, it's not out of necessity, but because we enjoy reading and  playing games.  The fact that it reinforces spelling, grammar, vocabulary and reading comprehension is just an added benefit. What kind of Language Arts curriculum have you tried or are considering?

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