Language Arts

The emphasis in the language arts program is the written expression. From the first grade through junior high, students learn the process of writing in various stages. From pre-writing to the editing of the final draft, students are given opportunities each week to write in many genres like creative stories or expository essays.

We strongly adhere to the premise that to improve as a writer the key is to practice writing. Instruction in spelling, vocabulary and grammar are taught systematically each week to enrich the writing process. Through years of shaping, students emerge as competent writers who can wield the power of the pen.

We believe that instruction in spelling, vocabulary development, word usage, and grammar focuses on the writing process. The writing process gives purpose to these elements. For example, it is important for children to understand good grammar because good grammar enables writers to clarify their ideas to their audience. Similarly good writers need a well-developed vocabulary that enables them to select the appropriate word that matches the thought and feeling they hope to convey.

Concerning spelling and vocabulary instruction, we afford interested students the option of studying advanced word lists or taking online courses in vocabulary development through Northwestern University. These include learning vocabulary through Latin and Greek roots, and they also include formal high school Latin classes available for seventh and eighth grade students.

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Students emerge from Birchwood as competent writers who can wield the power of the pen.