Overview of English Language Arts
English Language Arts (ELA) seeks to teach English language literacy skills, primarily expressed in the ability to effectively read, write, listen, and speak. Standards and objectives that describe grade-level expectations for teaching and learning these skills are found within the state of Virginia’s English Standards of Learning.
The Arlington Public Schools ELA program seeks to develop students who are strategic readers, effective writers, engaging speakers, and critical thinkers. The ELA Office believes all children can learn to read skillfully, write expressively, and engage in higher-level discourse.
The focus in early elementary (grades preK-2) is the development and mastery of foundational literacy skills. Evidence-based instruction that emphasizes phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary development, fluency, and comprehension is prioritized to meet the needs of students in the early stages of reading and writing acquisition.
The focus in upper elementary (grades 3-5) shifts from learning to read to reading to learn across all content areas. Students build on their foundational reading skills and become increasingly proficient readers and writers.
The focus in middle school (grades 6-8) is a broader understanding of the world of literary genres. Students are encouraged to widen their reading lives and deepen their writing voices by exploring multiple genres, employing a variety of strategies, and considering multiple perspectives.
The focus in high school (grades 9-12) is an appreciation of literature in all its forms, from canon to contemporary young adult fiction, from film to social media, from art to music. Multiple paths of study are available to students including, Advanced Placement, Dual Enrollment, and International Baccalaureate courses in both Literature and Composition. Courses guide and prepare students for literacy expectations in post-secondary, higher educational settings as articulated in VDOE’s Profile of a Graduate.