What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term English Language Arts (ELA)?
Chances are, you remember a book you enjoyed (or didn’t enjoy!) reading, or the first oral presentation you gave.
If you thought about one of those thing, you wouldn’t be wrong—typically, the term language arts includes four areas of study:
While each of these is a distinct, individual category, language arts isn’t just research papers and The Great Gatsby; that is only the beginning. The skills learned through language arts are not only important independently, but they are also necessary for success in other areas of study, and in life beyond school.
End-of-year expectations include progression and proficiency in a number of areas related to and including language arts. Beginning with phonics instruction in the elementary grades, and proceeding to complex technical concepts in later grades, the mastery of language arts is necessary to meet academic standards.
Both fluency and comprehension in reading are critical to understanding nearly everything that is taught. Students are expected to speak, write, and communicate what they have learned, which carries over into all content areas—they must be able to effectively use language arts skills to both absorb content from others subjects, and also express their knowledge of those other subjects.
Proficiency in the four components of ELA are not only necessary components of every subject, but they are also essential elements in nearly every profession. Communication skills in particular are essential for every career field. Missouri Learning Standards reports that STEM professionals overwhelmingly cite good communication skills as necessary prerequisites when hiring.
Nearly every professional, from accountants and lawyers to engineers and doctors, needs a high rate of proficiency in English Language Arts in order to be successful in their field.
Once the transition from learning to read to reading to learn has been made, a student has reached the place in which learning can expand exponentially. English Language Arts enables a student to think more critically and even abstractly about the information there are receiving—what does the green light across the water reallymean? That type of critical thinking, coupled with communication during class discussion or in an essay, teaches valuable life skill your students will carry with them after graduation.
English Language Arts continues to be an essential aspect of every curriculum and each individual’s educational process. Teaching language arts as distinct and specific classes is critically important to learn specific writing, reading, and listening skills, but it is also necessary for student success to take an interdisciplinary approach by applying language arts skills to other subjects.
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