Language

The language expectations are organized into three strands, which correspond to the three main areas of language use. The three strands are: Writing; Reading ; and Oral and Visual Communication. All the knowledge and skills outlined in the expectations for the language program are mandatory. The program in all grades is designed to develop a range of essential skills in reading, writing and oral language, including a solid foundation in spelling and grammar; an appreciation of literature and the ability to respond to it; and skills in using oral language accurately and effectively. Students will also learn to use critical and analytical skills to respond to communications media, and will develop skills in using technology to search for and share information.

When students learn to use language in the elementary grades, they do more than master the basic skills. They learn to express feelings and opinions, and, as they mature, to support their opinions with sound arguments and research. They become aware of the many purposes for which language is used and the diversity of forms it can take to appropriately serve these purposes and a variety of audiences. They learn to use the language and forms appropriate for different formal and informal situations – for example, the formal language of debate, the figurative language of poetry, the technical language as both a source of pleasure and an important medium for recording and communicating ideas and information.

The writing process, or the process used to produce a polished piece of writing, involves a number of stages and tasks. Some stages, such as the initial stage in which ideas for writing are considered and explored, are similar for all grades. However, other tasks, such as constructing a plan, are much more complex in Grades 7 and 8 than in Grades 1 and 2. The writing process begins with the following four stages: generating and considering ideas; choosing a topic; developing a plan for writing; and writing a first draft. At this point, the teacher and student must decide whether the first draft is promising enough to be developed into a finished product. If the decision is made to continue, three more stages follow: discussing the presentation and organization of ideas and revising to improve these, using the feedback received; editing for accuracy in spelling, grammar, and punctuation; and enhancing the message conveyed as well as the appearance of the text by such means as headings and illustrations. Parents can expect all students to complete a significant volume of work to the final stage (known as the publishing stage), where accuracy is essential and the ability to edit independently is developed.