Language Arts Web Pages
created and maintained by
Dr. Mary Ellen Van Camp
Department of English
Ball State University
Copyright © 1997-2004 Mary Ellen Van Camp.
All Rights Reserved.
Links to other locations and information
at this web site:
Overview of the Language Arts
The Language Arts have long been identified as Listening, Speaking, Writing, and Reading. In many current and commonly-accepted Language Arts frameworks, Viewing is included in conjunction with Listening because of the similar mental processes required for creating meaning through either of these modes of receiving language.
There are a few web sites which provide outstanding information about
Language Arts, particularly with respect to its importance and content in
school curriculum and instruction. Among those are the following:
Language Arts Instruction
"Effective teaching of reading,
writing, listening/ viewing, and speaking is...
* aligned with the essential learnings
* child centered and developmental
* connected to prior knowledge
* structured for success
* responsive to the needs of a diverse population
* balanced between skills/strategies and real-life applications "
"* Every child can learn to read
* Success results from good initial instruction, continued focused instruction, and support across all grades throughout the entire curriculum.
* Quality reading, writing, listening, speaking experiences promote the effective use of language.
*Learning and refining language skills is a lifelong process.
* Meaningful quality assessments, with students as partners, are essential to monitor and promote progress.
* 21st-century language arts instruction includes the basics plus technology, higher-level thinking, and real-life applications."
Source for this segment: © Vancouver School District
While listening has been considered one of the language arts for over 50 years, it remains the least studied of the language arts. It also is the language art about which the greatest number of misconceptions have become something akin to the prevailing wisdom. For example, listening is frequently confused with hearing. Consequently, the mental processing of oral language, which is imperative for effective listening, is ignored. Another misconception about listening relates to confusion of listening with "paying attention." While giving attention to oral messages is a significant pre-cursor necessary for effective listening, "paying attention" is not the same as "listening." Effective listening is a selective process wherein the listener decides what to pay attention to. It is unfortunate that common language references to listening have led to confusion in our understanding of this important element of daily life.
Among Language Arts specialists, listening is often referred to as being
the receptive mode of oral language, while speaking is the expressive
oral language mode. It is another commonly-held misconception that "receptive"
is synonomous with passive. Allow me the cliche: nothing could be further
from the truth. Instead of being passive, the term "receptive" makes specific
reference to the essential mental process of receiving oral messages which
must occur before there can be meaningful speaking or oral language expression.
While there do not seem to be many world wide web sites devoted to listening as an educational topic or an area for research, there are a few. The links below will take you to some sites which present useful information.
This page offers comments by author Heather Forest on the importance of listening, etc. as a way of learning in both ancient and modern times.
The International Listening Association : Though not an association with direct connections to education, their site provides some information that teachers may find useful.
The Joy of Story Listening : A very well-done site that celebrates the joy of listening to literature.
Assessing Listening and Speaking Skills
How Can Parents Model Good Listening Skills? : As the title indicates, this page is directed to parents. However, the ideas for modeling good listening for children can be used by teachers, as well as parents.
Listening: Are We Teaching It?
There are many Language Arts activities which offer opportunities for speaking practice. Among the best are storytelling, book talks, small group discussions, and Readers Theatre. Try the following links for more information on these activities and how they may be used in the classroom to provide meaningful contexts for students to practice their oral language skills.
Effective elementary school writing programs provide students with instructional experiences that enable and empower them to write effectively for multiple purposes and audiences.
Writing is a recursive process that has identifiable stages. Among the
stages are prewriting, drafting or composing, revising, editing, and publishing.
Several universities provide online writing centers along with useful links to other information for writers. Here are two of them:
University of Illinois Writers' Workshop
Michigan State University Writing Center
Revision: Cultivating a Critical Eye : Instruction for maturing writers, especially college and university students who are learning to write academic papers. The site is maintained by Dartmouth.
Stages of the Writing Process : Information from the North Central Regional Education Laboratory
Copyright: Issues, Articles & Resources
Information gathered for students in English 311. While elementary teachers are not likely to teach most of this information to children, the linked sites contain information that you should learn as a part of your college experience.
: This site is billed as "The First Place to Look for Book Information
on the World Wide Web." It's probably an apt description.
There are many online resources related to the teaching of reading. It is imporant to recognize that there is considerable academic differentiation between those who teach reading and those who teach literature. In a similar way, there is considerable difference between those who advocate literature-based reading instruction and those who advocate literature instruction. Each area of advocacy has its own significance in the preparation and continuing education of elementary school teachers.
Reading of Literature
These pages created May 2, 1997 and
last revised on January 21, 2004.
Copyright © 1997-2004 Mary Ellen Van Camp. All rights reserved.
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