“To read is to empower
To empower is to write
To write is to influence
To influence is to change
To change is to live.”
There is no more rewarding experience than to teach a child to read. If a child can learn to read with understanding and analyze that reading, their thoughts, experiences, and ideas can be transformed into written words. With these skills, a child will never lose the inestimable satisfaction of acquiring wisdom that is the touchstone of humanity. It is from this perspective that the North Allegheny Communication Arts/English Department has developed curriculum. The quality of each student's experience with Communication Arts/English is of utmost importance and is reflected in a curriculum design that is a research-based, integrated framework through which students learn to read, write, speak, and listen.
Literature is a reflection of humanity that comes alive through the use of powerful language. Students need to be accomplished, enthusiastic, life-long readers enabling them to critically view the world, learn the universal lessons that literature teaches, and develop an understanding of human diversity. A thoughtful, critical reader is able to balance ideas, make sound decisions, and challenge perceptions. Beginning in the primary grades, critical reading skills are addressed through research-based instructional practices, a systematic and explicit sequence of instruction, and the use of a variety of genre. Through continued and increased exposure to various literary genres through the grade levels, students develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of the powerful impact of the written word.
Writing encourages a lifelong appreciation of the beauty and power of words. Writing skills encourage students to explore their own natural curiosity, to think analytically, and to express themselves clearly. These skills enable students to become productive, successful members of society. Writing instruction provides experiences in various modes of composition at every grade level, allowing students to demonstrate competency in writing and in the conventions of written language. Formal composition synthesizes the components of critical and divergent thinking, literature, language, and vocabulary. These skills enhance academic success and provide students with the ability to explore and articulate the complex issues and ideas encountered in public and personal life.
The ability to speak and listen is the basis of all knowledge and understanding. Speaking clearly and listening critically in a respectful environment enables students to generate ideas and affect change in a positive, productive manner. Students must be encouraged to talk about new concepts, share ideas, and present feedback on a given subject. By giving students the opportunity to develop these speaking and listening skills, students are prepared to have a compelling yet rational voice and to develop the critical sense to understand others in a global society. The prudent use of technology enhances these strands as students respond with skill and confidence to the academic and global challenges of today and the future.