Language Arts

Students work in a Guided Reading group with Teacher Lori McTamney at Ridge Park Elementary

The language arts curriculum encourages growth in all students as readers, writers, listeners and speakers. Through integrated lessons, children make connections between reading, writing, vocabulary and spelling -- while acquiring strategies like selecting relevant facts, formulating thought-provoking questions and organizing knowledge to meet specific goals. Rich and diverse literature, targeted to different reading levels, allows students to acquire fluency so they may read with adequate speed, accuracy and expression.

Elementary School

The elementary language arts curriculum is built on the principles of a balanced approach to literacy, incorporating essential components of modeled, shared, interactive, guided and independent reading and writing. Using a repertoire of research-based literacy practices, the language arts curriculum actively engages the minds of students with a range of spoken, written and electronic texts. The elementary language arts program also encourages the use of specialized discourse strategies, such as literature circles, to expand upon the principles of the balanced literacy approach.

Middle School

The middle school language arts curriculum focuses upon important skills and strategies grounded in cognitive learning theory. The curriculum includes essential skills and content, planned learning tasks, and structured units in a dynamic, language-rich environment. Resources include a diverse mix of classics and contemporary literature, both narrative and informational, which build reading, writing, and vocabulary skills. Cooperative learning activities are also implemented to engage students in a variety of listening, speaking, and writing tasks.

High School

The high school language arts curriculum focuses on reading a variety of literary genres in fiction and nonfiction, centering on techniques of research, rhetoric and analysis. The writing program includes a wide variety of expository, persuasive, narrative, analytical and descriptive writing. Formal assignments include article reviews, a research-based paper, informational and creative pieces, prose analyses, poetry analyses and expository essays. Library research projects, which form the basis of oral presentations and essays, are also an important part of the language experience in high school English. Carefully selected resources span American and world literature study, helping students understand the impact of internal and external conflicts, cultural identity, personal relationships and the exploration of self. Readings also include contemporary essays that evaluate the ironies and paradoxes in society.

PWHS Writing Center gives students credit for helping peers

Students who are strong in writing and looking for an upper-level honors English elective at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School can apply to be a Writing Fellow. The Writing Fellows run PW's Writing Center, where students help their peers with term papers, lab reports, college essays and more. A common sight in many colleges, the innovative PW Writing Center is one of the first student-run writing centers at the high school level.

Writing fellows at PWHS help their peers with papers and other assignments

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