What Counts as Elementary English Language Art?
The first step to understanding what counts as elementary English language art is to know what exactly it means or its goal. You will agree that Art is a way of communication. Hence, English language art is the ability to share an idea with the proficient use of English language. It is a vehicle of communication by which we live, work, share, and build ideas and understandings of the present, reflect on the past, and imagine the future. Through language arts, we learn to appreciate, integrate, and apply what is learned for real purposes in our homes, schools, communities, and workplaces.
Communication occurs in various forms that involves the active use of human senses and psychomotor skills. Hence, English language arts education incorporates the teaching and learning of the reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing.
Let’s quickly delve into what constitutes elementary English Art. The first is the art of reading.
Reading involves ability to identify words, understand them, and coordinate word recognition and comprehension so that reading is automatic and accurate. It is possible to make meaning from print without being able to identify all the words. It is possible to identify words without being able to construct much meaning from them. However, effective coordination of word recognition and comprehension fosters fluency. When we read, we use our eyes to receive written symbols and we use our brain to convert them into words, sentences and paragraphs that make meaning.
Reading can be silent or aloud. It is a receptive skill (we receive the information we read) and productive skill (this typically occurs when you are reading aloud to others, thereby transmitting information). Children need to learn the following to develop word recognition:
Phonemic awareness – the ability to notice, think about, and work with the individual sounds in words.
i. Alphabetic principle – letters used to represent certain words.
ii. Decoding – apply their knowledge of letter-sound relationships.
iii. Word study – analyze words and spelling patterns.
iv. Sight vocabulary – expand the number of words they can identify with ease.
To develop comprehension, children need to:
i. Have background knowledge about many topics
ii. Develop extensive oral and print vocabularies
iii. Understand how the English language works
iv. Have knowledge of various kinds of texts
It is important that children develop a high level of accuracy in word recognition, maintain a rate of reading, use phrasing, and transform deliberate strategies for word recognition and comprehension into automatic skills in order to improve fluency.
Writing is a method of using signs and symbols to communicate ideas in a visual or readable form. This could be hand written (with pen, pencil, ink) or typed (with keyboard). Writing in English language requires good understanding of the basic system. This includes knowledge of grammar, punctuation, correct spelling, and formatting and sentence structure. The art of writing is described as a response, a process, it is linear, recursive, involves decision making.
Writing as a response – most times we write to react to or reply someone or something. There is usually a target audience in mind. The writing context requires writers to have a sense of the reader’s expectations and an awareness of conventions for a particular piece of writing. Even at elementary grade, children write in response to what is required of them in school.
Writing involves decision making – it is evident that a writer goes through the complex process of deciding the diction, the order of the words in the sentence, the grouping of sentences into paragraphs, and the order of the paragraphs within a piece.
Writing is linear – ideas rarely come to the head in a structure manner. Writing makes us create the logical relationships that develop our ideas into what someone else may receive and hopefully find interesting.
Writing is a process – it starts with planning activities where ideas are developed, research done, materials developed and rough sketches made. An initial drafting is done where the raw ideas are poured out unedited on paper. The draft is improved through review, modification, and reorganizing by rearranging, adding, or deleting content, and by making the tone, style, and content appropriate for the intended audience. This is the recursive part of writing. To improve style and clarity, the work is edited (through proofreading and error correction). The finished product is then made available to target audience.