There is no denying that teachers have a lot on their plates. It is nearly impossible for them to get in every single lesson they hope to get to when they plan out their year. So, like all of us, they do the best they can and they prioritize. Often that leaves language to fall by the wayside. This means that many students leave school seemingly unable to string a coherent, grammatically correct sentence together.
Why Isn’t Language Arts Taught?
While language arts is still being taught, there has definitely been a decline of emphasis in these skills recently. One of the main reasons for this is that there has been a huge push for increased attention to STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).
There has also been a major cultural shift away from traditional reading and writing as technology takes the main stage in our everyday lives. Multiple studies also note that many teachers are not properly trained in teaching language arts, and even in writing themselves.
All of this combined can put students at a disadvantage when it comes to developing their language arts skills.
What Skills Should Children Know?
There are certain skills children should master by certain grade levels, and it’s very helpful to know what these are so you can help your child if it seems like they are not learning the proper skills. Following are some of the basics students should know by grade level:
1st Grade: Describe characters, settings, and events
2nd Grade: Recall stories and determine theme; explain how characters respond to events using key details; describe a story from beginning to end;
3rd Grade: Make connections and ask/answer questions; describe how characters’ actions contribute to plot; compare, contrast, and reflect on themes and plots
4th Grade: Identify key details and summarize a story; determine meaning of words with context clues; make connections between text and visual/oral representation; compare, contrast, and reflect on stories in the same genre;
5th Grade: Quote from the text and draw inferences; use key details to identify theme and summarize text; compare, contrast, and reflect on themes and topics in literature from different cultures
At all grade levels, students should be able to read and comprehend grade appropriate texts.
How Can You Help Your Children Learn These Skills?
According to a study by Scholastic, parents start reading to their children less after age five, but one of the best things you can do for your child to help them learn literacy and language arts skills no matter what age they are is to read to and with them.
It’s also important to develop speaking and writing skills as well. You can work on these with your child by playing fun games. For example, you could write a funny story together by passing a paper back and forth and taking turns writing sentences of the story. You could also take turns acting out different scenes from your favorite stories and guess which story is being acted out.
What Else You Can Do
If you feel as though your child is not getting the education they deserve, don’t hesitate to take action. Get involved with your school board and local education committees to advocate for your child and their education. You can also get in contact with your local Math Genie center. The reading and writing program offered for students starts at age 3 and continues all the way to 7th grade. In this program we spend the time needed to make sure your child is understanding all the language arts and reading comprehension skills they need to know for school. In fact, many of our students are now excelling ahead of their grade thanks to our reading program. There are plenty of ways to help your child master language arts in every grade.