A double dose of Language Arts in fifth grade gives students a strong foundation for all that lies ahead. One class emphasizes grammar, spelling, and writing, while the other uses an individualized reading program to stress comprehension and critical thinking. Students discover that patterns can be found not only in math and art, but in every stage of the writing process.
Working independently, with partners, and in small groups, your child will expand his knowledge and application of vocabulary, Greek and Latin root words, context clues, and grammar. Students practice writing for different audiences and purposes such as making a brochure as a “kid entrepreneur,” composing a letter to their future selves, seeking to persuade the Head of Middle School to expand recess to all Middle School grades, and writing an argumentative essay for a science project about Mars Rovers. Word walls, games, and mentor texts enliven the learning process, giving students confidence to write with fluency, to enjoy the art of the written word, and to take risks in the writing process. By the end of the school year, students come to understand the role writing and grammar play not only in English class, but across all disciplines.
Our master teachers know that writing and reading are like the chicken and the egg: It’s hard to know which comes first. Studies show that students become better writers through reading—and vice versa. Of course, reading serves other valuable purposes, too, from acquiring information, to exploring new horizons, to helping us make sense of our world. Reading also connects us with others and enlarges our empathy and compassion. In his second Language Arts class, your fifth grader will select books of his own choosing, with guidance from his teacher. As he works on his individualized reading goals, he will practice a variety of reading strategies such as activating prior knowledge, synthesizing information, asking questions, making inferences, and drawing conclusions. He will learn to explore new authors and genres as his reading fluency and love of reading grow. And he will find that writing assignments reflecting on his reading—like composing letters and blog posts—will strengthen both.