Friday, October 28, 2016

Language Arts...Beechick style!

To do Language Arts the Beechick way, you will choose a passage to work with from the books you are reading to your child or that your child is reading to himself. The book can be fiction or non-fiction. Try to use a variety of different types of books for these passages. The passage can be one sentence for younger students and on up to a paragraph or two for older students.
Work on only one passage at a time. You are working for mastery here. You will progress from copywork to unaided dictation until done correctly with this one passage. You will also progress to including occasional, incidental grammar and spelling/vocabulary lessons still using the same passage. When you have milked the passage for all its worth, choose another passage and repeat the process. This will cover beginning composition skills, penmanship, grammar, spelling, and vocabulary.
If you, as the teacher, need a little help pulling grammar lessons from your dictation passages, get really familiar and comfortable with a good, simple grammar guide.
I have put together an outline for doing Beechick-style LA lessons. This is a very simplified version and if you use this you will need to personalize it for your situation. Based on Beechick’s recommendation to stick with one passage for awhile, progressing from copywork to unaided dictation, I felt that a week would usually be sufficient to cover one passage well. Of course, for longer passages, you might need to allow more time.
An outline for the week may look something like this:
  • Day 1 — Read selected passage and talk about it; point out grammatical constructs and new words for vocabulary and spelling studies.
  • Day 2 — Copy (or write from dictation, if student is ready for more advanced work); compare to the original and make corrections.
  • Day 3 — Teach some grammar (the passage you choose will dictate what grammatical elements you will be teaching, so choose your passages accordingly); study difficult words (spelling and vocabulary); dictate again.
  • Day 4 — Slow dictation, with plenty of help for the student (i.e., you spell words or help the student to sound them out, repeat phrases as needed, etc.).
  • Day 5 — Dictation in which parent reads the passage at normal pace with proper expression and child takes the dictation down with no help from the parent.

After the lesson for Day 5, evaluate the child’s dictation for accuracy. Then, you will need to decide if you should stick with the passage for a few more days or move on. Make notes of anything that your child struggled with and use this in choosing passages and planning future LA lessons. And don’t forget to find something praiseworthy in your child’s work and make a big deal out of it. They will relish the praise and continue to strive for excellence when they realize that you are noticing all their hard work.

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