Learning Language Arts Through Literature

Reviewed by Debbie Dena

Learning Language Arts Through Literature is an integrated approach to teaching grammar, vocabulary, reading skills, spelling, penmanship and thinking skills. The series includes a teacher’s book with answers and a student activity book, identified by a different color for each grade level 1st through 6th. Upper grades are also color identifiable. The Green Book is 7th, The Gray Book is 8th. And, now, there are two high school books: The Gold Book - American Literature (grades 9-12) and The Gold Book - British Literature (grades 9-12).

This curriculum is for the person who enjoys studying language arts in the context of literature.  Initially, students are asked to copy a short passage of selected literature from dictation and then make corrections using the original.  This passage becomes the basis for the remainder of the lesson. For example, the student will look up any unfamiliar vocabulary within the passage, add misspelled words to a spelling list, practice proper capitalization and punctuation and identify parts of speech. Short exercises are given to reinforce the concepts that are being taught. In addition to basic grammar, some grade levels also include units on poetry, journaling, writing, and research.

Learning Language Arts Through Literature certainly breathes life into the typical monotony of grammar studies. It captures students’ interest by introducing them to quality literature. My children always wanted to read the entire book after tasting a sample. Whole book studies are included in many of the grade levels; however, these appear to be geared toward enrichment activities and grammar skill reinforcement as opposed to the in- depth analysis one would encounter in a specialized literature course.

The positive aspects of this curriculum are a break from the endless, out of context grammar drills of traditional courses, the exposure to great age-appropriate literature, and the creative selection of exercises. If you have a middle or high school student who is very advanced in grammar, then you may need to choose one level higher than his or her current grade. Although writing and literature are covered in Learning Language Arts Through Literature, some supplemental writing and literature studies could also be beneficial in the 7th-9th grade levels.

If you prefer traditional grammar drills that your child can basically complete independently, then this curriculum is not for you. However, if you enjoy a more varied and integrated approach that will whet your student’s appetite for good literature, then Learning Language Arts Through Literature may be just what you’re looking for.  I loved this program!

Information and availability subject to change without notice.