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English Language Arts (ELA) is taught extensively in every grade level from Pre-K to 12. Language arts instruction typically consists of a combination of reading, writing (composition), speaking, and listening skills.
California has adopted the Common Core standards to lay the groundwork for ELA curriculum and instruction. Common Core standards promote the literacy skills and concepts required for college and career readiness. Such skills include critical-thinking and the ability to closely and attentively read in a way that will help them understand complex works of literature and informational texts.
In elementary school, language arts curriculum focuses on basic reading, writing and communication skills. Periods of silent sustained reading, writing well-structured sentences and paragraphs, good vocabulary and accurate spelling are all major focal points of elementary English Language Arts. Through these lessons, children are expected to develop a strong foundation of reading and writing skills.
In middle school, the English curriculum expands to include more complicated reading comprehension, such as fiction, poetry and essays. Grammar and semantics become a focal point of lessons, and students will begin to develop an expanded vocabulary and writing skills that involve expository writing and creative writing.
High school students take English courses in which they are expected to develop analytical skills. Classes generally revolve around reading novels, essays and other forms of literature. Students are required to analyze, interpret and dissect written material in order to compare, contrast and discuss elements like theme, characters and plot. Proficient writing skills are necessary at this point, as the analysis of literature typically takes the form of an essay or research paper. English is a key component of college preparation, getting students ready for the extensive research and analytical skills they will be expected to apply throughout their time in college.