Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How I Educate--Part Two: Language Arts Penmanship

Language arts skills include phonics, reading, reading comprehension, penmanship, composition, grammar, vocabulary, spelling, and research skills. These skills do not need to be taught all at the same time but as the child is ready to learn the skill.

We start with phonics and penmanship and once the child is reading we move onto composition, research and grammar (includes vocabulary). Spelling is added whenever the child is ready once they have learned to read.

Today, we will look at penmanship and how through copywork it leads to beginning composition.

Around age 4, I introduce letters and letter sounds with Leappad Letter factory DVD. Then we practice letter sounds and look for letters everywhere. At this point, I give them play-dough letter cards and we do a lot of sand and water play. You can find play-dough letter cards here:

At age 5, I start using primary lined copywork pages. You can find these here: I let the child pick the cover page for their copywork book and we put it on the cover of a binder. Then I print off a bunch of copies of the 3 sets of 2 lines pages.

I will begin to write a letter on the top line and have the child copy below. Sometimes, I start writing part of a letter at a time and have the child copy that and by the time they are six I will write out a word on the top line and have the child copy below. They also get to color in the pictures and make them look nice.

When they are ready, I move onto the 2 sets of 3 and 4 lines pages. Often I will ask the child to compose a sentence which I will write down on the top set of lines. Sometimes, I will point out the parts of speech and punctuation. The child will copy the sentence below. This helps the child learn to compose sentences as well as work on penmanship.

During second grade, we will read Aesop's fables and I will have the child narrate the story in their own words. I will write down this narration and have the child copy it at their own pace over the course of the week. Sometimes they like to illustrate it as well.

In third grade, we move onto reports and letters. I will come up with a topic or theme that is of interest to the child. This is often from a list of writing prompts. I will ask the child the question and she will answer me and I will write that down then I will begin to pull out more information so that she will learn how to elaborate and complete her thoughts. Once the paragraph is written, we put it away for the day. The next day she copies it.

For fourth grade, I am looking at doing more descriptive writing as well as working on some three to five paragraph reports.

Hope this helps you get started.

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