English Language Arts

For curriculum purposes, we think of English Language Arts as including reading and literature studies, grammar and writing, and research.  Our ELA program works toward three broad goals:

  1. Preparing students to be independent, critical readers for information and understanding.
  2. Preparing students to appreciate the artistic elements of language and storytelling.
  3. Preparing students to be skilled in powerful and persuasive written communication.

In Kindergarten, students explore letter shapes, letter formation, and letter sounds along with introductory decoding skills, author studies and “read-aloud” time.  The goal in Kindergarten is to excite reading readiness by developing in students a love for stories and words.

In First Grade, students are immersed in phonemes, spelling rules, and decoding strategies moving toward independent reading.  Read aloud time continues with an emphasis on rich and engaging stories and begins building skills for using context clues to build vocabulary and understanding. Students also practice letter formation and handwriting, and they begin to learn basic rules of grammar and parts of speech.

Second to Fifth Grades focus on developing greater independence in reading and good comprehension skills.  “Pleasure reading” becomes an important part of developing a student’s reading life, and students begin to learn how to navigate a library and pick a good book.  Fourth and Fifth Graders begin to learn rudimentary research skills for reports and projects.  Cursive handwriting is introduced in Third Grade, and students continue to learn parts of speech and grammar rules.

Sixth to Eighth Grades focus more on the rules of grammar as the “logic” of writing, as well as using grammar and context to get meaning from written texts and applying good grammar to written communication.  Students are “walked” through a process for research and writing, with an introduction to online research and writing tools. Students move from the construction of good sentences and paragraphs to the construction of good essays, with an increasing emphasis on persuasive writing.  We also seek to expand students exposure to classic literature and the elements of good storytelling.  By Eighth Grade, students should develop a deeper appreciation for how an author uses the elements of story to explore themes of life and influence the way we think.

Ninth to Twelfth Grades take students on a “timeline” of literature and ideas from Ancient Literature (9th) to Medieval and Renaissance (10th) to American (11th) to Modern (12th).  This “timeline” model of Literature education is distinctive to classical education (and different than the typical public school model), and works to give students a more “immersive” learning experience as they study the literature and history of a particular time period concurrently.  Students learn more about the power of story to shape culture and learn more and more how to think about stories from a Biblical perspective.  Students also explore topics at increasingly challenging levels of research with the goal of forming well-researched opinions, presenting those opinions in essays and papers, and defending those positions orally.  

The ELA curriculum culminates in a Senior Thesis project in which students research a topic, develop an opinion on an issue in that topic, write a 10 – 15 page research paper with input from an advisory team, and finally present their research to faculty and staff, defending their position.  The Senior Thesis is a requirement for receiving the Honors, College Prep, and General Diplomas.

Learn More About:

Curriculum Overview

Social Studies and History



Classical Core

Biblical Integration

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