Fourth graders experience the joy of reading and analyzing great books together, both as a class and through small-group book clubs. Each student has latitude to select novels with strong personal appeal. Popular selections come from the award-winning children’s literature on the Newberry, Bluebonnet, and Caldecott lists. The Magician’s Nephew introduces children to the works of C. S. Lewis as fourth graders explore why are myths and fantasy stories are worth telling.
Through read alouds, fourth graders connect their classroom to real-world events: Bud, Not Buddy generates thought-provoking questions about race and inequality during the Depression; 14 Cows for America looks at the events of September 11 through the eyes of a Maasai tribe. Several of Patricia Polacco’s books such as The Bee Tree, The Butterfly, and Thank You, Mr. Falkner anchor a memorable author study. Of course, your child is learning grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary along the way. By year end, we hope your fourth grader will be equipped and eager to read and discuss books for the rest of her life.
Ernest Hemingway said, “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.” The fourth-grade year brims with opportunities for students to write true sentences through highly personal prompts like “What does leadership mean to you? Write a personal Declaration of Independence. Reflect on justice through a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” Your child will practice the steps of good writing—brainstorming, pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing—in genres as diverse as memoir, fantasy, and graphic novel. Peer editing will hone her eye, her ear, and her interpersonal skills. In an immersive poetry unit, your child’s understanding and use of literal and figurative language will invigorate his limericks, free verse, and Korean sijo. Students even write poetry in conjunction with Math and Social Studies lessons. It all comes together in the Poetry Café, our friendly version of a poetry slam when fourth graders serve up verses to their parents. Each student recites a favorite poem by memory, followed by a lively roundtable discussion among children and parents. Listen closely for their skillful use of literary devices like simile, metaphor, alliteration, and onomatopoeia. Wow!