Princeton Charter School

Language Arts

English 5-8

A major element in the PCS language arts program is learning to write well. The main components of the writing program include narrative, persuasive, expository, and descriptive pieces with an emphasis on employing the writing process, on usage, sentence structure, mechanics, and (especially in the younger grades) spelling and penmanship.

Students write almos
t every day at low, medium, and high-stakes assignments, which are selected to encourage writing of all types and all ordering techniques—chronological, spatial, logical, and order of importance. The technique chosen must suit the task. For example, chronological order suits storytelling or explaining a process, while logical order suits a compare-contrast task. As their knowledge of all aspects of writing progresses, students are expected to apply these skills to their work in all subject areas. By the end of eighth grade, students’ writing should exhibit coherent thought, appropriate use of quotations, logical argumentation with connections between claims and examples, appropriate vocabulary, correct and varied sentence structure, and a sense of style and voice appropriate for the intended audience.

As students’ cognitive development allows them to think ever more abstractly and grasp the nuances of metaphor and other figurative language, the writing program continues to emphasize all kinds of writing in many different forms, such as stories, poetry, book reviews, letters, opinion pieces, and analytical pieces, especially on the literature they read. They also receive sequenced instruction in increasingly complex areas of usage—such as subject-verb and pronoun antecedent agreement, tense formation and consistency, and correct use of pronouns—and continue to receive grade-appropriate instruction in vocabulary acquisition skills and in spelling. They are expected to employ these skills in their writing as they learn them. By grade eight, students will have become proficient in writing a well organized, grammatically correct five-paragraph essay and will have begun to develop their own voice and style.

Reading: Language arts skills are the most essential part of a child's early education. Students must learn to read so that they can read to learn.

As they advance in school, the students read, discuss, interpret, analyze, and compare literature of all forms, including plays, fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. By the end of eighth grade, students are careful readers, able to analyze the structure and style of a work of fiction, and to understand and summarize a written argument.
The PCS reading strategy recognizes that developing comprehension, building a vocabulary, and learning to infer meaning from context are critically important to advancing reading skills
For a full description of the language arts curriculm, click here.


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