How to piece together a Language Arts program

I’m putting together our Language arts program for the next year. I already have curriculum for grammar, spelling, and writing (cursive/copywork). What other components should be in a complete Language arts program? My kids will be in 1st, 3rd, and 5th grade. What other activities you recommend should be added? I’m sure I’m missing a lot.

Would you mind posting what you have already? I will have a K/3rd/5th next year :slight_smile:

Sounds like you have a great start! I like to include: Composition, Reading/Literature Comprehension and Vocabulary too. I do that for all grades - just at grade level. :slight_smile: Keep up the good work - it sounds great! :slight_smile:


Hiya! As a former Language Arts/Literacy teacher, some of the things that I had to make sure that were included were independent reading and critical thinking. Granted, this was for middle schoolers, but the principal is the same for all grades (my son is 7 and I implement the same concepts in our homeschool program). Have them read books that they want to read on their interest level. It can be at bedtime when you read together or during a scheduled time in your day. Also, you may want to try to tie what they are reading with an activity that allows them to think about what they read. For example, The Monk and I are doing a Fairy Tale unit. In this, we are reading various Grimm Brothers fairy tales (you could do this for your all your grade levels, especially the Disney versions). So we read Little Red Riding Hood and then watched Hoodwinked and talked about how the stories are different (compare/contrast). Then he wrote about the beginning, middle, and end of the Little Red and displayed it on a poster. For Rapunzel, we watched Tangled and then read the original Grimm story. Then he wrote about which version was his favorite and why (text evidence with supporting details).

When thinking about Literacy, you need to make sure that they can retell and respond to what they’ve read, connect it to something that they have seen, read, or experienced (text-to-self, text-to-text, text-to-world), and that they enjoy what they are reading (otherwise, what would be the point?).

I’ve included some pictures of what I’ve done with the Monk to maybe give you some ideas. I hope you find them useful! Cheers!


Do you have a phonics curriculum for the 1st grader? And reading? May want to add those:) my 1st grader still needed lots of phonics and practice reading:)

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Yes, @Luvmyboys, I´m considering Phonics. I forgot to mention it. Thanks!

@Lindsay, this is what we already have, most of the books are from A Beka. The spiral method seems to work well for my kids. Since A Beka is a little dry, I supplement with some manipulatives and Montessori style materials, specially for Math, Language, and Science. This is the list of books we´ll be using next year. It is not finished, all suggestions will be appreciated.

Together as a group
History: Old World History and Geography
Bible: I´m looking into Adventures with God or Calvary Curriculum (both are free!)

First grade
Phonics: Letters and sounds 1/Handbook for Reading
Reading: A Beka readers
Language: Language 1
Spelling: Spelling and poetry 1 (not the poetry section)/Words Their Way (red book)
Writing: Writing with phonics 1 Cursive
Math: Arithmetic 1
Science: Discovering God´s World
Health: Health, Safety, and Manners 1

Third grade
Reading: A Beka readers/Read and Think 3 Skill Sheets/Other books for book reports
Language: Language 3
Spelling: Words Their Way, from Pearson (yellow book, A beka doesn´t work for him)
Writing: Writing with phonics 2 Cursive (He struggles a lot in this area, I decided to use a lower level book).
Math: Arithmetic 3
Science: Exploring God´s World
Health: Health Safety and Manners 3

Fifth grade
Reading: A Beka readers/Read and Comprehend 5 Skill Sheets/Adventures in Nature Speed and Comprehension Reader/Other books for book reports
Language: Language B
Spelling: Spelling, Vocabulary, and Poetry 5/Words Their Way (blue book)
Writing: Penmanship Mastery II
Math: Arithmetic 5
Science: Investigating God´s World
Health: Enjoying Good Health

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Great ideas, @Beckie! Thanks for sharing! I will include those activities.

@sgrrrbear, thanks for your kind words! I will include those subjects in our program. I just wonder what is the difference between Reading and Literature.

Here is a comprehensive list that Training for Triumph uses in their Language Arts program:
I have to say that, A Beka is pretty solid. You’re not missing much, if anything. I’ve used A Beka Language Arts from K-3 and the only thing I have had the desire to do is add in some Literature lapbooks to go along with some books that my child was reading, also added Pathway Readers for comprehension/vocabulary (only because I really liked the stories and the idea of the workbook for these two areas), and there is a book I really like that I found at thelibrary for writing, as in creative writing, etc. It is called Razzle Dazzle Writing. On the author’s website you can find wonderful resources to help you put together a lapbook with lots of info/tips/cheat sheets/ideas for writing using different prompts, how to write using a prompt, and many other things. It’s really been a great addition!
But, sometimes those things only cause us to feel a heavy burden we don’t need to have by having too much to do. A Beka covers those things, juust differently than other programs do. So, with that in mind, I only use these resources as extras. Hope this helps!

@Elizabeth - Hello there! Well to me they are two different things -To me reading is reading on your own for practice and for fun. To me literature is reading together and then asking comprehensive questions about the story - who are the characters, what happened first, next, last, what is the setting etc etc.

Some people do combine them into one - the student can read the story, then you ask the questions. AND some people have reading as literature!

So, I think it would be whatever you interpreted it as and how it would work the best with your family. :slight_smile:

I hope that helps and I hope that I make sense. :slight_smile:

you’re brave to piece together a curriculum. I just stick with heart of Dakota.

@sgrrrbear I agree with what you are saying. For us reading is reading fun, or to improve fluency, or to get phonics down. Literature to us is going deeper. Asking comp questions, making inferences, doing vocab, etc…


@GC123, I’ve looked into the links, they will be so helpful. Yes, you are right, we have a lot to do with A Beka. I think I could add Literature and Creative Writing maybe once or twice a week. I’ve seen some sample pages of the Razzle Dazzle Writing book, it looks like a great resource! Thanks for all the suggestions!

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@sgrrrbear and @Luvmyboys, thanks for taking time to reply. Now I see the difference better. I will make sure to add Literature to our schedule. This website is a blessing! Thanks again!

As a speech pathologist I’m a big Language person! I will say that one of my absolute favorites is Total Language Plus. It is literature based and addresses Reading, Vocabulary, Spelling, Comprehension, Grammar (however I don’t like the grammar portion, not in depth enough), and enrichment. Several times I have used Total Language Plus with Erica’s lapbooks!

@Sheila it’s ALWAYS wonderful to have input from a professional! I have a question, what grammar program do you use? My son had ABA for about a yr, 5 days wk, 8 hrs day! Plus speech x2 days wk for an hr each! Plus OT!! We LOVE our professionals and miss their guidance now that we homeschool:)

Hey there! I’m SO sorry it is July and I’m just now getting back on here. Life has been crazy, I’m recovering from an ankle surgery along with homeschooling 2 kiddos! So to answer your question, I do recommend Abeka, it is very thorough. Although, I have to say I often add in some of my own therapy materials to make things more fun! One thing I do with my 2nd grader is a ‘grammar notebook’. It is simply a spiral notebook in which we will give a title page for our current lesson, (i.e. “Nouns”, “Adjectives” etc…) and then she will define what ‘nouns’ are, give examples and then her favorite part is to either draw some pictures or cut out pictures in magazines and paste them in her ‘grammar notebook’. And of course we write sentences using what ever part of speech we are studying! She loves this! She uses this notebook to look back at her own work and loves to show it off. :slight_smile: Also, a side note here, even though you are homeschooling you are still entitled to speech, occupational or physical therapy via your school district. I’m not sure where you are located, but if you have any other questions regarding this feel free to ask me, or contact the special education director at your public school. Schools are required by law to provide services (special or gifted) to all children in their school district. :slight_smile:

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