The language arts encompass all aspects of the English language with emphasis on their application across the curriculum. Instruction focuses on enhancing the use of language in the four recognized strands of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. These strands are structured to enable students to:
1) acquire information and analyze through critical reading, listening, and viewing;
2) use language for creative thinking, speaking, writing, and problem solving;
3) communicate ideas, emotions, opinions, experiences, and information;
4) engage with literature as a way to understand universal human experiences, finding power and beauty within language.
The Writing Component of the English Program
The Thaddeus Stevens School offers a strong writing program based on the idea that good writing develops over time. Students learn that drafting and revising are essential to written work. They are immersed in a language-rich environment and given the time and the instruction to prepare written work that meets a variety of purposes and represents quality of thought. Students practice this process in all areas of curricular work and understand that good writing is necessary in all areas of communication, not just for English classes.
Each writing assignment, long or short, informative or entertaining, is accompanied by a list of core elements that define it as a certain type of writing. Creating a finished product of writing involves several steps and revisions.
Students are gradually moved from the textbook to the use of primary documents to write document-based essays explaining historical events, evaluating arguments, and analyzing texts. They learn to use the text, whether fiction or non-fiction, as evidence to support their interpretations and points of view.
The School wants to develop in its writers the notion that writing takes time and practice. Ideas must be filled out with substance and reduced of excess; a balance between the idea and the writing is best established through drafting and revising and talking about the work with others involved in the same process.
Finally, the writing program assists students in acquiring the awareness to “read as writers,” enhancing their analytical approach to the text.