Language Arts

Language Arts


Our philosophy is to create independent readers, competent writers, discriminating viewers, articulate speakers, active listeners, and critical thinkers. The practices underlying the teaching of language arts (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) at ASA are guided by the AERO: Common Core Language Arts Curriculum Frameworks.

In grades K-2, the goal is to teach students to learn to read and write and to develop a lifelong love for reading. Students spend 50% of the time learning surface structure systems (letter-sound knowledge, phonemic awareness, decoding) and 50% of the time learning deep structure systems (comprehension at the word, sentence, and text levels).

In grades 3-5, the goal is centered on helping students read and write to learn and develop a lifelong love of reading and writing. Students spend 20% of their time learning the surface structure systems and 80% of their time learning the deep structure systems.

The goal of the secondary language arts department is to encourage all students to think, speak, read, and write, analytically, critically, and convincingly. Language Arts courses are based on literature and non-fiction writing because students learn best when exposed to language in context and write best when they are exposed to quality writing throughout various genres. Students gain knowledge about themselves and the communities in which they live through social interaction that requires active listening and participation. Students write best through the writing process. Since language is both written and oral, students should have adequate opportunities to express themselves orally.

English Language Arts Program

Elementary Program

While oral language is the foundation for reading and writing, students develop into readers and writers. Readers learn to read by reading for generous amounts of time and by reading a variety of genres, often books of their own choice, as choice is essential to engagement. Writers learn to write by writing different kinds of texts for generous amounts of time. Instruction, therefore, is based on a workshop model for both reading and writing, following Lucy Calkins’ Units of Study. In both reading and writing, learners construct knowledge through authentic exploration and creation. Moreover, as learning occurs at different rates and in different ways, instruction is differentiated based on students’ needs, abilities, and interests. To measure students’ progress, teachers perform ongoing formal and informal assessments that direct instruction. In this process, risk-taking, mistakes, and productive struggle are valuable for the learning process. 

Secondary Program

The goal of the secondary language arts program is to encourage all students to think, speak, read, and write, analytically and convincingly. The aims of the language arts class include encouraging and enabling students to develop the skills involved in listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing, and presenting in a variety of contexts.  Language arts courses develop both literary and informational reading and writing skills and hone critical, creative, and personal approaches to studying and analyzing texts, as well as visual media. Using the writing process, students individually and cooperatively create poetry, short fiction, persuasive essays, and other genres of writing, as well as refine speaking and oral presentation skills through multiple formal and informal presentations and class discussions.  By developing these skills, the students become confident and proficient writers, listeners and speakers, and lifelong readers.