Lower School Language Arts classes build strong skills in reading, writing, and oral communication, incorporating both critical and creative thinking skills in a variety of exercises and assignments. In addition to the study of phonics, spelling, handwriting, and parts of speech, Lower School students practice using language in creative and factual writing, oral recitation of reports and memorized poetry, and thoughtful responses to reading assignments. Interdisciplinary planning in the lower grades ensures that language arts skills are reinforced across the curriculum in social studies, science, and mathematics.
The study of phonics begins in kindergarten and continues through third grade, while the study of spelling rules and the memorization of weekly spelling lists begins in kindergarten and continues through fourth grade. The formal study of grammar begins in first grade and continues through fourth, with a focus on parts of speech, correct sentence structure, and mechanics.
Students begin keeping journals and completing age-appropriate reports in kindergarten. The requirements for content and complexity in written work increase yearly so that fourth grade students are able to produce multiple-paragraph reports based on research and rudimentary analysis. Creative grade level class projects frequently compliment written reports.
Oral and written work based on selections in basal readers is supported by class novels and required, documented reading outside of class. Participation in enrichment reading programs in kindergarten through fourth grade helps students discover new authors and texts, stimulating interest in reading for pleasure.