Total Language Plus

I am considering using Total Language Plus for my 2 boys next year. One will be in 5th (reading about 1/2-1 grade behind) and the other will be in 3rd (reading 1-2 yrs ahead). I figure I can combine the two. I have read soooo many reviews on this curriculum. I am looking for something that covers it all. I’m also looking for something that is great with comprehension, vocabulary & writing. I figure Spelling is easy to supplement if I need to. Does anyone have experience with this curriculum? If so, any thoughts to share…positives or negatives? I should add too that I am looking for something that we can stick with for the longhaul. I’m trying not to jump around too much to avoid gaps. Thanks!

I am looking at this for my soon to be third grader. It was recommended to me when I was looking for a new language arts program to replace AAR for her. AAR isn’t a great fit for my oldest(for my second it is great). I am deciding between Total Language Plus and Learning Literature Through Language Arts. Both use books instead of readers (at least at third grade which is what I need), which my daughter loves, and both seem to have strong vocabulary components (which we have been missing) I’m not worried about the writing component since we use Write Shop Primary and are planning to continue it. But LLTLA has a small phonic component which I think my daughter still needs and Total Language Plus does not seem to have this (it might and I may have missed it on my reading). But Total Language plus offers more freedom with the book choices which I think my daughter would enjoy.

As you can see I am still undecided. We don’t start the new curriculum until August so I have time.

I have been using LLATL (Learning Language Arts Through Literature) for 3 years. We completed the Blue. book, the Red book and are more than half way through the Yellow Book (3rd grade). I am also looking into TLP (Total Language Plus) as my son loves to read and loves vocabulary,

Just to give you a comparison - LLATL is meant to be an All in One Language Arts program with a little of every component in it.

It does not really focus a lot on vocabulary. It does introduce it and encourages the student to use a dictionary which is great to learn to do. It is not done weekly, but rather every few weeks. Although it does use literature, it is not a literature study like TLP. Every few weeks it gives you a Literature Link where you read either a written story in the book or the Literature book they suggest. It gives discussion questions which allows the child to learn critical thinking skills.

It does have a strong grammar element as it gently introduces it and has lots of fun built in review. It has weekly spelling lists. It does not focus on spelling rules like AAS but groups similar spelling words together like -ight words. It also uses Bonus Words from that weeks copy work that don’t follow a rule but they get familiar with it by writing it everyday. Each week there is copy work from either a poem or scripture. That helps introduce the concepts of grammar, spelling, handwriting and even memorization. At the end of each week the student is introduced in a very gentle way to writing.

It has been a great fit for our family. My son is very active but very bright. The lessons are short and can be done independently with parent discussion as needed.

Thank you @Michellerella for your response. It is very helpful, as I’ve wondered about LLATL for awhile now. So, are the books not assigned in pages or chapters to complete certain pages of the LLATL workbook? Like in TLP, it looks like unit 1 is chapters 1-2, and all questions in grammar, spelling, vocab & comprehension have to do with those 2 chapters. Is that not the case in LLATL?
Also, is there comprehension work in LLATL? My 4th grader really needs some comp work and I am hoping to have it tied in with their other Lang Arts work.


@momto4 No, in LLATL the books are not assigned in pages or chapters. The Literature Link is offered about every 5 or 6 weeks. It’s meant to be done as a week. Example for Lesson 23 week that we just finished.

Day 1 you read the literature (Young Daniel Boone - Boy in the Woods) or the similar written story in the lesson. It does highlight the vocabulary words to ‘look’ for but does not expand on many of them.
Day 2 you can finish reading the story if you need to and then it is all discussion questions about the Lit and some critical thinking/list making/comparing characters/ comparing pioneer children to what your child does today.
Day 3. Research Daniel Boone or other character from that time period and create a timeline of their life.
Day 4 Present your information orally, in drawing or written paragraph.
Day 5 Dictionary - look up bravery and courage - write definition. Discuss ways each of 4 biblical characters displayed these. Write about a time you or someone you know was brave.

The rest of the weekly lessons cover copy work, grammar, cursive, spelling and beginning writing.

I have purchased a couple of the TLP guides. I plan to use one over the summer. I will take a closer look at that one for you this week and give you a better comparison of the 2.

I asked several moms in our co-op at TLP as many of them have older kids and have used it over the years. I too heard great feedback, especially as they got a little order. A couple of the moms did say that after a few of the units, their kids enjoyed it but were ready to move on. They didn’t like having to stretch out the reading of the book and analyzing every part of it, they just wanted to enjoy reading it.

When I use it, (Cricket in Time Square) I plan to allow my 3rd grader to read it all himself first as he can finish it in a day or two. And then I’ll go back and do it as a Read Aloud with both him and his younger sister (Kinder) and do all the lessons after each Unit.

I recently did this with Mr. Poppers Penguins and it went really well. My son was already familiar with the story and loved having it read to him again. The activities & vocabulary seemed to sink in a bit more since he was already introduced to it. We used a Progeny Press guide that we were given for free for this study.

All are great Lit programs!

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Character Quality Language Arts has a very comprehensive program, and a very interesting approach. I liked everything I saw about it, but I have no experience with it.
There are different colored series (which cover different character qualities) and levels. This way you can keep everyone on the same series but on a different level at the same time. Or in your case in the same level.
I learned about this program on a review by Danika Cooley: . She uses this with her children. I’m really interested in it, in fact I had posted a topic asking if anyone uses it but received no response. Must not be too known. But looks so good! Let me know what you think :slight_smile:

Hi @GC123! I came across this post when looking for information about LLATL and remembered I had looked into Character Quality Language Arts awhile ago when you first mentioned it here. I was just wondering if you did decide to use it and if so, how you like it? I’m not looking for anything for this school year, but I always keep in mind great suggestions like this one!

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Hi @Forchristandkids!
I actually ended up not trying it. I can’t remember what my reasoning was but probably that I chose to continue with what I was using, or planning on using at the time.
If you do eventually, please let us know about it! :blush: