Section: Composition, Literature   |   School: Grammar School, School of Logic

Writing instruction at WHA begins with Language Arts in the Grammar School and continues through the School of Logic and School of Rhetoric years, culminating in Rhetoric 2: Senior Thesis.  The primary goal of our writing process is to teach students how to write coherent, logical, and elegant essays.  To accomplish this, students need a solid foundation in writing, which our Language Arts courses seek to provide.

Each Language Arts course consists of engaging literature, comprehensive grammar, and essential composition skills, each part reinforcing the others. As students progress through the levels of this integrated curriculum, they are continually becoming stronger readers and stronger writers.  The literature selections become the basis for learning the grammar skills, along with the tools necessary to create exceptional writing assignments.  The goal is that students be well-prepared for the upper-level coursework that will follow in later years.  Through these intertwined practices, students who work through the entire series will gain a practical understanding of English language arts so that they can read complex works with understanding and write well-reasoned essays with clarity and correctness.

Language Arts Level 1

This course introduces students to great works of children’s literature and provides an integrated approach to grammar and writing instruction. Using WHA instructor-developed materials that correspond to the current literary selections, students will work through grammatical concepts such as parsing & classifying sentences, identifying parts of speech and using them correctly, and utilizing correct punctuation and capitalization rules. Students will also use the course’s literary selections to work through a variety of writing assignments, including descriptive, narrative, and expository writing, with a special emphasis on eloquent sentence structure and using textual evidence. Copy work and dictation exercises will not only further reinforce grammar, spelling, and usage but also provide exposure to commendable sentence structure and presentation. Finally, daily poetry reading will enable students to explore eloquent expressive forms and learn how to use the English language more effectively in their own writing.

This course is appropriate for ages 9 to 12, depending on previously acquired reading, grammar, and writing skills. It serves as an introductory course for ages 10 to 12. While it may serve as an introductory course for a younger diligent student, prior exposure to sentence capitalization, end marks, and parts of speech is preferred.

2020-2021 Language Arts Levels 1 & 2 Book Lists

Language Arts Level 2

This course introduces students to great works of children’s literature and provides an integrated approach to grammar and writing instruction. Using instructor-provided materials corresponding to the current literary selections, students will work through grammatical concepts such as parsing and diagramming sentences, classifying sentences, identifying parts of speech, and utilizing correct punctuation and capitalization rules. Students will also use the course’s literary selections to work through a variety of writing exercises, which will include basic exercises in classical rhetoric. Students will also complete formal writing assignments using both narrative and expository modes, with a special emphasis on eloquent sentence and paragraph structure. In addition to learning how to identify specific details from literature to support big ideas in their writing, they also practice drawing connections between these details giving their writing cohesiveness and clarity. Copy work and dictation exercises will not only further reinforce grammar, spelling, and usage but also provide exposure to commendable sentence structure and presentation. Finally, daily poetry reading will enable students to explore eloquent expressive forms and learn how to use the English language more effectively in their own writing.

This course is appropriate for ages 10 to 13, depending on previously acquired reading, grammar, and writing skills. This course is not introductory. Students should have exposure to the eight parts of speech and be able to identify nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs as well as the subject and predicate of a sentence. A diligent older student with little grammar background may be successful.

2020-2021 Language Arts Levels 1 & 2 Book Lists

Language Arts Level 3

Language Arts 3 consists of engaging literature, comprehensive grammar, and essential composition skills, each part reinforcing the others. The course is designed to prepare students for upper-level coursework.

LA3 students will read short stories, novels, and poetry, exploring fundamental literary elements in the process. By digging into these works, students will learn how to understand and evaluate what they read with more maturity and insight. They may even gain insight into themselves and the world around them!

The literature selections will also provide the basis for writing assignments. Students will review and practice the elements of quality sentences modeled from the literature. From there, students progress to a variety of paragraphs and learn to gather and analyze textual evidence clearly in order to create strong support of a topic sentence. With that solid foundation in place, students learn to construct effective literary essays. Students will write frequently in a variety of modes.

A third part of this course will be a comprehensive study of the logic of grammar through the traditional practice of parsing and diagramming sentences. When learning a grammatical concept, students will also observe the concept exemplified in the literature selections and then will write sentences modeled after that grammatical syntax. Students will also apply grammar knowledge when editing their writing. Through these intertwined practices, LA3 students will gain a practical understanding of English language arts so that they can read complex works with understanding and write well-reasoned essays with clarity and correctness.

This course is appropriate for ages 11 to 14, depending on previously acquired reading, grammar, and writing skills. This course is an intermediate course. Students should have an understanding of the eight parts of speech and be able to identify them in a sentence as well as identifying many of the noun jobs. Their writing should be free of fragments.

2020-2021 Language Arts Level 3 Book List

LA4: Fundamentals of Expository Writing

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 LA4 students develop habits of questioning 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.

This course is an advanced course and is appropriate for ages 12 to 14, depending on previously acquired reading, grammar, and writing skills. Students should have had practice writing body paragraphs which include textual evidence and clear analytical connections. The ability to identify parts of speech and noun jobs is essential as well as punctuating compound and complex sentences.

2020-2021 Language Arts Level 4 Book List

2020-2021 Language Arts Book Lists: