Learner-Based Language Arts Part 3: Solidifying and Applying Skills

How to plan for the greatest growth!

This blog accompanies Rooted in Podcast S3E3: Learner-Based Language Arts Part 3: Solidifying & Applying Skills. We recommend referencing the blog while you listen to the podcast on iTunes, Podbean, YouTube, or our website!

For the first two parts of the 3-part series, please read the blog posts and access the accompanying podcast episodes Learner-Based Language Arts Part 1: Introducing Skills and Part 2: Gaining & Practicing Skills.

Solidifying Skills Pie Chart

Once students are reading and writing efficiently, reading comprehension skills are deepened as they engage with various genres. Students practice strategies to help them learn to interpret text, known as deep comprehension. Students use various techniques to develop inferencing skills, including tracking the story's plot and learning literary elements. Writer's style is explored, as basic annotation skills are taught and practiced.

Students shift from "learning to read" to "reading to learn." In all subject areas, reading is used to learn new concepts and to gain new vocabulary.

Writing is used to describe reading and to express ideas. Writing connects to reading as students engage with text in annotation, and as they respond to text by analyzing characters, creating simple charts, and writing "reader response" opinions.

Original writing becomes a consistent part of learning across all subject areas, although creative writing and personal writing is prioritized.

Intentional Copywork, Dictation, and Editing incorporates spelling, word study, as well as grammar and mechanics. This practice also facilitates close reading skills to improve comprehension.

As students gain skills in grammar, they begin to apply their new knowledge when periodically editing their own writing.

Applying Skills Pie Chart

Writing and Reading are now completely automatic and flow (or fluency) is solid. All academic focus shifts to helping students engage in higher-level thinking, with this phase making up the bulk of the student's school years. Literacy skills are consistently employed throughout the day across all subject areas to learn and deepen concepts.

In reading, emphasis shifts from comprehension to exploration of ideas, genres, as well as writer's style and purpose. Close reading is expected, in which students practice interpreting text, separating out subtext cues of mood, intent, word choice, etc. Emphasis is placed on higher-level thinking skills of inferencing and analysis. Literary elements and writer's style are explored in depth, and annotation skills are further developed.

Intentional Copywork, Dictation, and Editing continues to incorporate spelling, word study, grammar and mechanics, but it now includes practicing cursive. Note-taking skills are being taught as a primary means of tracking new learning, so cursive is an effective means of gaining speed for this important skill. Note-taking also improves comprehension and recall, so linking copywork with note-taking practice promotes independent learning over time.

Research reveals many benefits to writing in cursive: it improves note-taking speed, it leads to better recall of information in note-taking, it improves handwriting, and it improves spelling skills.

Solidifying and Applying Skills and beyond Pie Chart

After cursive is adopted and used with fluency (usually over a few years), students are introduced to keyboarding. For most students, careful use of proper finger position is a necessary ingredient in obtaining efficiency and speed. Again, Copywork, Dictation, and Editing practice aids in gain speed and accuracy in keyboarding, needed for original writing.

While keyboarding is not the best means of note-taking (inferior to cursive for learning and recalling new concepts), it is helpful for original writing as students enter the high school years.

As students gain even more skills in grammar, they are better able to apply their knowledge to editing their own writing. Editing becomes a consistent practice in original writing, as students use word processing to help them revise and refine their writing.

Writing, like reading, revolves around developing the student's higher level thinking skills, as they create analytical and comparative essays. Students learn how to develop a thesis, introduce and conclude ideas, and to provide and cite evidence to support their thesis. Writing is taught carefully over time, with content trumping mechanics. However, grammar is specifically practiced using original writing, to help students become proficient self-editors.

Back to blog

Leave a comment