Language Arts 4 emphasizes both literature and composition by focusing on the first three canons of classical rhetoric: invention, arrangement and elocution. The thoughtful discussions about literary works help students develop habits of inquiry and an appreciation for the art of writing. Students use these skills to write reflective essays that present a logical and clear argument. Literature selections include short stories, novels, a Shakespearean play and poetry. These selections serve as the basis for composition assignments, which include evaluating ideas across more than one literary piece. Students expand their skills by varying the structure of body paragraphs through careful arrangement of the three parts of an essay: introduction, body and conclusion. In creative exercises, students experiment with voice by imitating the diction and syntax of the authors.
The course continues to reinforce proper grammar, mechanics and usage through weekly exercises and reading. In addition, students analyze sentences with advanced grammatical constructions using a four-level approach. This approach increases writing skills as well as reading comprehension.
Topics include (in an integrated approach to grammar and writing): the first three canons of rhetoric; vocabulary development through literary text; grammar and language mechanics; paragraph arrangement; parts of an essay; the argumentative essay; the compare/contrast essay; timed-writing practice; and imitative writing.
Suggested Grade Level: 8, depending on previously acquired reading, grammar and writing skills. This is an advanced course, and students should have had practice writing body paragraphs which include textual evidence and clear analytical connections. Students must be able to identify the parts of speech and noun jobs as well as correctly punctuate compound and complex sentences. Grade 8 students new to Wilson Hill (or essay writing) should consider enrolling in Language Arts 3.