Program Approach for English
BJU Press’s elementary English product line connects skills in writing, mechanics, listening, speaking, and viewing to provide students with a solid English language arts foundation. Students study one part of speech at a time, mastering English conventions through spiral review and regular practice of each skill. Proofreading activities give students practice in analyzing sentences, identifying grammatical errors, and correcting errors within the context of writing. Students follow the writing process to write opinion pieces, informational texts, and narratives. Teacher modeling and student collaboration help students develop their craft as they write in various genres for real-world contexts.
Language as God’s Gift
Our program teaches students that language is one of the first and best gifts God gave to humanity. Language is how God chose to communicate and fellowship with His people since Creation. With language, we can understand God and others, express thoughts, and influence others. Lessons begin with a particular biblical worldview focus, using the Bible as the guide to teach students to be Christlike communicators. The lesson’s introduction explains how the biblical worldview focus influences students’ application of the skill. Journal activities at the end of the lesson reinforce the lesson’s worldview and skill focus by having students write something to demonstrate their understanding of that knowledge. Literature Links also promote the biblical worldview focus of the chapter. Valuing language as God’s gift gives importance to and incentive for the study of language.
Foundations of Grammar and Mechanics
Through teacher modeling, guided practice, and independent practice, our materials teach standard English conventions. Each grammar lesson introduces new concepts through a teaching section that explains grammatical rules with definitions and sample sentences. Because mechanics are foundational to good writing, the grammar chapters emphasize continual practice of foundational grammatical concepts by applying grammar rules in real-world writing examples. These chapters also show how to apply grammar and mechanics to speaking and listening through critical-thinking exercises.
Study and Reference Skills
Students practice interacting with informational texts and primary sources for the purpose of gathering information. Students can apply study and reference skills when using their textbooks and reference materials and as they read fictional and nonfictional materials. Early in the program, students learn how to identify various parts of a book such as the author, illustrator, publisher, the table of contents, etc. The student editions also guide students in best practices for finding and evaluating information found online. Lessons on study skills show students example note cards and outlines and provide texts for students to analyze, take notes on, and make outlines of. By the end of the program, students learn how to compile notes and record documentation accurately to produce a research report.
The Writing Process
The five steps of the writing process in our Elementary English program are planning, drafting, revising, proofreading, and publishing. This process helps writing become more manageable for students by separating writing steps into clearly defined actions, and it creates better results because of the careful attention given to each step. This writing process is our standard approach for teaching writing at each grade level, and it applies across genres of writing such as narrative, informative, and expository. Students first learn the process through teacher modeling. Teachers can work through each step for each new genre with the whole class before students apply the process in their own work. Teacher and peer conferences happen during the revision stage, allowing students to get encouragement and feedback about their work to sharpen writing skills. These suggested conferences along with rubrics create a multi-step grading process to accurately asses students’ writing.
Clear and Effective Writing
Students develop clear and effective writing by analyzing mentor texts and through constant practice. Student worktexts contain carefully selected literature links that illustrate skill in grammar and in a particular genre like informational, literary, or opinion texts. These texts help students visualize concepts they are learning and guide them in applying lessons to their own writing. Students also regularly practice writing in a real-world context through journal assignments and the worktext pages, which give students daily opportunities to practice and strengthen their writing skills. Writing chapters assign projects like personal anecdotes, letters, newspaper articles, imaginative essays, and much more to diversify students’ ability and to refine their skills across genres.
Developing Digital Literacy
Digital literacy skills require students to use cognitive and technological skills to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information. The student editions have exercises that develop digital literacy by asking students to find digital content for research reports. In Grade 3, students begin applying their study and reference skills to sources found on the internet. Lessons about the internet include instruction on internet safety and using the acronym TOOLS to teach students how to use technology wisely. Students also learn how to navigate electronic sources like encyclopedias, informational articles, and educational videos. Upper elementary research reports help students find useful information and resources online and accurately document their internet research.
Our elementary English program provides many opportunities for developing 21st century skills. The teacher editions suggest activities for collaboration that involve students’ working together one-on-one, such as in group discussions, brainstorming activities, information exchanges, and writing evaluations. Students ask each other questions to get information and express their own ideas, or the whole class discusses ideas to reach a conclusion together.
An important part of students’ development is using their auditory senses to process language. Listening activities in the teacher edition help students differentiate sounds and learn proper formation of words. These activities also encourage students to develop their ability to recognize grammatical errors so they can speak with clarity and accuracy. Follow-up questions to the listening exercises encourage students to think about and evaluate what they hear.
Speaking skills are also an important part of language development. The student worktext and teacher edition provide opportunities for both formal and informal speaking activities. Examples of formal speaking activities for students could be giving oral presentations or reading published writing projects out loud. Some examples of informal speaking activities are conversations between students or with the teacher, small group discussions, or whole classroom discussions. Informal activities still encourage students to speak in complete sentences and apply correct grammar.
Visual analysis skills encourage students to understand infographics and connect images to accompanying spoken or written words. Our student editions include illustrative pictures, diagrams, and tables. These images provide additional information and context about the material, while allowing students to practice decoding visuals as they do with words. Students answer questions in the worktext to help them evaluate the images and demonstrate understanding.
Communicating to Serve Others
Students with a biblical worldview learn that deceptive or untrue communication does not show love to other people, but language that comes from a heart of service and love can create a sense of fellowship and community. Student worktext assignments encourage students to produce writing that shows love and concern for others. Our program helps students hone the craft of writing and emphasizes excellence, equipping students to communicate truth, beauty, and goodness effectively to others. With good writing, students can help other people know God better and love true and beautiful things.