Language Arts Programs Scope and Sequence
Letters to Little Words
The Letters to Little Words program starts with studying one letter a week for 27 weeks. Each week, each letter is introduced with all its letter sounds, i.e. that “a” says three sounds, “g” says two sounds, etc. Most parents are surprised by how quickly students catch on to this methodology. When a parent introduces decoding of the words, they can say, “This word uses the second sound of ‘a.’” For the remaining weeks of this program, students go on to add to their knowledge of the alphabet other 2-letter phonogram sounds. Examples include: er, or, ir, ai, oi, sh and so on. Throughout the year, students have a weekly list of words that they need to decode, starting in Week 10. An additional feature of this program is that letters are introduced in the same week they are used and practiced in the “Animals and Their Worlds” program, fitting hand in glove with this program.
This program offers a lot of flexibility to parents. The phonogram cards and character cards, together with the activity pack, offer a variety of activities that reinforce the learning process in an active way. These resources can help you fill gaps in learning, reinforce skills, and even extend the learning if you want to move more slowly through the program.
Here are some examples of students who will use this program effectively, and how:
- Parents of younger learners, such as a four-year-old who can’t wait to read, could use this program without using the last 9 weeks of more advanced phonograms, but instead, used other learning activities included with the program to continue building reading skills.
- Parents of students who know some of the letter sounds, but not all, usually have great success using the program as it is.
- Parents of students who know almost all of the basic sounds of the alphabet, but have not learned the so-called “long” sounds of the vowels or additional sounds of consonants can also use this program successfully, but may move through it more quickly.
Syllables to Sentences
Syllables to Sentences begins with a three-week review of the phonograms learned in the “Letters to Little Words” program. After that, students begin to decode readers with short three-letter words or less. These readers usually have one short sentence per page. Students also work on word families, building their decoding skills. The program brings the student to the point that he is reading short paragraphs by the end of the year.
Here are some examples of students who will use this program effectively, and how:
- Parents of younger learners, such as a five-year-old who has learned his alphabet and is a motivated student may be able to use this program if the parent is willing to spend more than three weeks on the initial review (using the phonics cards) to really ground the student before moving on.
- Parents of average kindergartners who have fully mastered the alphabet and are ready to decode (or are just now reading) three-letter words will find this program will work perfectly using the program as it is.
- Parents of older students who not “motivated” readers may find that this is a safe, handleable program for students who haven’t effectively made the leap from decoding simple words to reading. Usually such students reach a certain point where all of a sudden the “key turns” in their heads, and they suddenly make reading progress at an incredibly rapid rate, catching quickly up to their more “motivated” peers. This may mean parents will not be able to use this program for an entire year as their student suddenly “outgrows” the program, and parents may find they need to supplement the program, or move on to the next level. This may seem like an additional expense, however, the step from decoding to rapid reading is a vital part of reading instruction, and cannot be missed.
NOTE: My student seems to be “on-the-fence” between these two programs; how do I know which one to choose?
Both of these programs overlap, thanks to the phonics cards and activity pack. If your student knows most of the alphabetical sounds, you may find yourself torn between these two options. At this point, your choice becomes dependent upon the personality of your student, and your own commitment to “adjusting” the program. If your student isn’t highly motivated as a reader, you may want to choose the “Letters to Little Words” program, knowing that at a certain point things may “click” for them, and you’ll need to move on. On the other hand, if your student knows most of the alphabet, but is starting to decode like a house afire, go with Syllables to Sentences and plan to spend more time on review to really ground them. As to your own commitment to adjusting, parents who choose the lower level will find that they may need to double up on some assignments to keep students challenged, while parents who go to the higher level may find that they need to add extra review time and utilize the phonics cards activities to invest in making up for gaps in their students’ learning. Parents may have preferences as to the type of “adjusting” they’d rather do. It’s also a cost issue. If you go lower, and things suddenly click for your student, you’ll need to move on and purchase additional language arts programs or resources.
Paragraphs to Pages
Sometime during “Syllables to Sentences,” a “key” turns in many students’ heads, bringing on that magic moment when their reading ability suddenly explodes and makes rapid gains. This 18-week program serves as a step between “Syllables to Sentences” and “Stories to Short Chapters” that can do one of two things: (1) Allow students whose “key” has turned to continue moving forward, even though they may not have completed “Syllables to Sentences,” or (2) Allow students who have completed “Syllables to Sentences” and yet have not had their “key” turn to continue moving forward at a slower pace than they’d encounter in “Stories to Short Chapters.”
Stories to Short Chapters for Grade 1 or 2
LA 1 offers your students a fun learning adventure in the forest with a smart squirrel named Acorn, the merry chipmunks Dash & Scoot, and Tatty the Mouse. Students will practice more advanced phonograms and blends in exercises and stories of mayhem and mischief that the forest friends encounter. The program begins with students reading short passages of several paragraphs with controlled vocabulary. There will be some unfamiliar words that are new, and we expect that your student will still need some guidance while reading, at first. By the end of the year, most students will progress to reading short chapters. Throughout the year, students will enjoy reading games resources that will reinforce their decoding skills and increase reading comprehension, fluency and speed. They’ll also compile a word dictionary to which they’ll add their new words, aiding them in spelling skills, and helping them to remember the words they’re decoding. This program is for students who are ready to read short paragraphs with some help, and is designed for the student whose reading “key” has turned and is rapidly making strides in their reading. It includes the items listed below, and a guidebook that offers creative narration suggestions to coordinate with a student’s theme programs.
Readers to Real Books for Grade 2 or 3
LA 2 begins as your student is ready to read short chapter books. Your student will return to Pine Hollow, and have all new adventures with Acorn the squirrel, the mischievous chipmunks Dash & Scoot, and Tatty the Mouse, along with all the other friends your student met in “Stories to Short Chapters.” Students will gain reading confidence, speed and comprehension as they work through this year’s resources. They’ll also start learning the most basic grammar concepts, as they are introduced to nouns, verbs, and adjectives, and basic capitalization and punctuation rules. The grammar they learn will also help them grow as readers. Throughout the year, students will once again use reading games resources that were a part of their “Stories to Short Chapters” set. These games will reinforce their decoding skills and increase reading comprehension, fluency and speed. Daily stories are 2-3 pages in length with controlled vocabulary. This set includes the items listed below, and a guidebook that offers creative narration suggestions to coordinate with a student’s themed program.
LA 3 “Tracking Down Good Grammar” Program
LA 3 fully grounds students in grammar instruction. Students learn all of the eight basic parts of speech in detail with the help of fun-loving Scout the dog. Scout will lead them through grammar instruction about nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, prepositions, articles, conjunctions and interjections. They are also introduced to cursive writing. Students continue with their reading skills, reading books that range in length from 65 pages to 300 pages, but which have a consistent reading level very achievable for this age. Students are required to read about a chapter a day.
LA 4 “Solving the Mysteries of Grammar” Program
LA 4 continues student’s mastery of grammar concepts with the fun, mystery-solving sleuth, Cliff Hanger. WP’s exclusive workbooks have students solving mysteries as they complete grammar exercises. This year’s grammar instruction reinforces concepts learned last year, for mastery of basic grammar skills. Students continue their work on cursive handwriting. Students progress into more formalized creative writing projects and read books that average 150-300 pages in length, about a chapter a day.
LA 5 “Digging Into Paragraphs” Program
LA 5 concentrates on student mastery of writing a good paragraph. The creative writing is focused on constructing good paragraphs of various types, from instructive to descriptive and more. Students will also continue with their grammar studies; Scout has made a comeback and is sharing his Alaskan adventures while students progress to more advanced grammar topics such as direct objects, predicate nominatives, nouns of direct address, clauses, verb phrases and more. They’ll continue their practice on cursive writing and vocabulary building. Their daily reading is about a chapter a day from books that average 150-300 pages in length.
LA 6 “Painting Word Pictures” Program
LA 6 helps students to add creativity to their writing with more effective use of vocabulary. They will add words to an advanced word dictionary and utilize a spelling dictionary that includes a thematic thesaurus and homonym index. They will sharpen skills such as developing interest-catching stories, using personification and more with their use of words. Students will also enjoy the creative “Comic Strip Grammar” and “Spelling Works” resources that add a dash of fun.