BookShark Language Arts
Natural and Effective
When your children were young, they learned language naturally by being exposed to it and mimicking what they heard adults say. In the same way, children learn to write by learning from good models of writing and trying out those models for themselves. We call this the natural approach to Language Arts.
BookShark’s Method for Teaching Language Arts
BookShark’s Language Arts programs flow from this principle. Each program guides your children through well-paced language activities based on the Readers they’re already enjoying.
As your children grow, the curriculum guides them through writing their first sentences, then simple paragraphs and stories, until they’re eventually writing scholarly compositions in upper grades.
image credit @mrsbishop.livinthedream
The ultimate goal of language arts (and possibly the most intimidating thing to teach) is writing. BookShark’s Language Arts curriculum is designed to develop excellent writers through a gentle but effective natural approach.
“Workbooks don’t really teach children how to write effectively,” says Dr. Ruth Beechick, homeschool expert.
Instead, students best learn to write well as they do these things:
“Benjamin Franklin taught himself to write this way,” explains Dr. Beechick. He outlined essays he admired, put them aside for a few days, and later tried an original article by following his outline. “He compared his writing with the model to see where he fell short. Then he tried another, improving his writing all the while.”
Workbooks don’t really teach children how to write effectively.
With BookShark’s Language Arts, your students will practice natural learning exercises like these, learning to write naturally—from excellent models. And practice is the key …
Students write a little every day. Writing lessons come from the books your children read throughout the year. As a result, they remember and comprehend more and more. Their creative writing lessons apply Dr. Beechick’s natural method:
the progression of BookShark
language arts programs
- levels K-D
- Levels I & J
Students encounter spelling words tied to phonics principles in Language Arts K through 4. In upper elementary grades, they continue to build vocabulary with words from their books. Meanwhile, they reinforce correct spelling through the highly effective Spelling You See program starting in Language Arts D. In Language Arts D, your children make a smooth transition from the basic mechanics of writing to more in-depth, independent writing.
In Language Arts E–H, young writers learn to do research, draft a wide variety of papers, and edit their work. Writing assignments range from personal letters and stories to advertisements and news items. In every assignment, you’ll find plenty of examples to follow from the books your students read. These are the models your children learn to emulate. In time, they grow from these examples move from basic writing to analysis.
Students in middle school through high school continue to write creative papers similar to their work in Language Arts E-H, but at a higher level. They also analyze and write about the books they read, delving into plot, characterization, mood, setting, and more.
A Comprehensive and Natural Language Arts Curriculum for Homeschoolers
The natural method used in BookShark Language Arts programs is simple and effective, building step by step so children consistently grow in English proficiency.
Besides writing composition, BookShark Language Arts is a comprehensive curriculum covering the full scope of all things related to English: spelling, vocabulary, grammar, handwriting, reading, and copywork.
BookShark introduces key grammar gems about once a week on a specific concept that ties into the week’s copywork/dictation passage. We also recommend using Grammar Ace for one year (or at your own pace) between Levels E and H. We schedule this optional series in the Language Arts E Guide.
We recommend and offer Handwriting Without Tears for your handwriting program and schedule it for your convenience in Levels K-D.
Our Vocabulary development program is based on and ties into the History Read-Alouds. You will find all the words and instructions for Vocabulary development in the History Instructor’s Guide. If you’d like more practice, we recommend the Wordly Wise program. We schedule this optional workbook in our LA Guides starting with Level 2 through 100.
Spelling & Phonics
Spelling and Phonics instruction is included in the LA Guides for Levels K-4. Starting in Level D we recommend using Spelling You See (included in All-Subject Packages). If you want more instruction in phonics, we included schedules for optional workbooks like Explode The Code and MCP Phonics in Levels K through 4.
We include the schedule, notes, and discussion questions for K-4 in the Language Arts Guide and History Guides. This enables you to customize packages for Levels K-4 for those students who may be reading at a different level, or to teach multiple students together. Starting with Level D and up you will find the schedule, notes and discussion questions in the History Guide because they coordinate with and reinforce the content your students are learning about history.
Weekly copywork passages in Levels K-4 prepare children to listen to, read, and copy good writing while familiarizing them with basic technical skill and style. Copywork builds the foundation for dictation in Levels D and E.
Creative Writing Instruction
Our step-by-step direction encourages exploration, sets children free to develop their creative side, and helps them become superb written communicators. We schedule writing every day — from copywork, brainstorming notes, and silly poems to research paper —in all levels. (For the lower levels you will likely be your child’s scribe).
Best of all? Kids love our readers! Even reluctant readers are typically won over by the books.
"Gunnar absolutely loves the readers in our new BookShark curriculum. He finished up his first one two days earlier than scheduled and asked to start reading the next one first thing this morning."
BookShark is ...
structured curriculum for flexible families.
Language Arts Placement for ages 5-7
All BookShark programs are offered as levels as opposed to grades. Though we offer recommended age ranges with a span of three years for Language Arts and Readers, it is important to place your student based on their current skill level. This is especially important for new students ages 5 to 7 (outlined with brief descriptions below) where skill sets vary more than that of students ages 8 and up (listed separately below).
One of the goals of our program is to instill a love of reading in your student, so it is important that they enjoy the many stories that they read over their BookShark years instead of being pressured into a program that is beyond their current reading ability.
Click to reveal more about each program.
Language Arts K ages 5–7
Perfect for children ready to learn the alphabet. LA K Introduces each letter and the primary sound(s) it makes, and gets the creative juices flowing with simple writing activities (with you as your child’s scribe).
Language Arts 1 ages 6–8
Designed for children who have just begun to master three-letter short-vowel words. Level 1 helps them move to advanced short words and short chapter books.
Language Arts 2 ages 7–9
Created for children who can decode most words but are still working toward proficiency in reading.
Language Arts 3 ages 7–10
Ideal for students who are ready for more advanced reading practice than easy reader books
Language Arts 4 8-11
Excellent for students able to read anything you hand them, but whom you’d like to protect from the grittier realities of life that more advanced books often deal with.
Use this assessment to place your child ages 5-7 in the best fitting program among the choices above. Again, remember that the goal is to have your student enjoy the stories, so aiming high may work against you.
If your student is sounding out the words on the assessment but wouldn’t have the ability to read them fluently in a story, we recommend you place them in a lower level. With the amount of reading you are going to do with BookShark through Readers, Read-Alouds and resource books (roughly 50 books per year if you do both History and Science), your student’s vocabulary and reading skills will not suffer if you place at, or even below, your student’s reading level.
In addition to the Reading assessment, we encourage you to look at sample excerpts from each level. You will find them on the assessment page directly below the Reading Assessment chart. These excerpts are taken directly from Readers within each level.
If you would like additional assistance with reading placement, please call us at 866-668-0179.
Language Arts options for ages 8 and up
Click to reveal more about each program.
Language Arts D ages 8-11
With BookShark's newly redesigned Language Arts program, your students will enjoy learning with the "natural method." We include Instructions for multi-sensory approaches to teaching grammar, spelling, dictation, and a complete creative expression/pre-writing program.
Language Arts E ages 9-12
With BookShark's newly redesigned Language Arts program, your students will enjoy learning with the "natural method." We include Instructions for multi-sensory approaches to teaching phonics, spelling, copywork, and a complete creative expression/pre-writing program.
Language Arts F ages 10-13
Our Guides are designed to equip you to teach your children. You will help your children develop as writers through instruction in grammar, writing mechanics and creative expression. Children write in a wide variety of styles as they learn about similes, metaphors, hyperbole and more. Dictation exercises based upon famous quotations help children learn to recognize and imitate good writing.
Language Arts G ages 11-13
Language Arts 6 helps you teach your children grammar, writing mechanics, research writing and creative expression. Students will recognize and imitate excellent writing through dictation exercises, explore various writing styles through fun and diverse writing assignments, solidify their natural grasp of grammar and more.
Language Arts H ages 12-14
Language Arts 7 helps you teach your children grammar, writing mechanics, research writing and creative expression. Students will recognize and imitate good writing through dictation exercises, explore various writing styles through fun and diverse writing assignments, solidify their natural grasp of grammar and more.
American Historical Literature & Language Arts I ages 13-15
This is the first year in which BookShark students do not engage in Read-Alouds with their parents.
It is also the first year (since Level 3) that Language Arts and Literature does not tie to the History. Because the History program is so academic, the Language Arts for this level centers on classical literature and daily poetry reading.
Classical Literature & Language Arts J ages 14-16
In this Language Arts program, students do not engage in Read-Alouds with their parents.
Like Level 8 before it, Level 130 Language Arts and Literature does not tie to the History.
Together, the newly improved American Historical Literature and Language Arts Parent and Student Guides weave all your Literature and Language Arts 130 materials into one easy-to-follow, cohesive program.
What You Get in a Language Arts Instructor’s Guide
1. Complete, ready-to-use lesson plans
The IG includes a 36-week, 4-day schedule with notes and activity sheets to make your homeschool experience as easy as possible. We have carefully organized the materials to help you and your children get the most out of the subjects covered.
2. Weekly overviews
Weekly overviews summarize the lessons, skills, and activities for each week and let you know about materials you may need to prepare in advance for your lesson.
3. Detailed Teaching Notes
Lesson Scripting boosts your confidence, giving you suggested wording to use as you teach.
4. Interactive Activity Sheets
Students complete assignments with the consumable Activity Sheets that follow each week’s notes. The Weekly Notes show the answers and suggested responses for Creative Writing assignments. The Activity Sheets are customized for each lesson to emphasize important points in fun ways and can be filed in a separate binder for your student’s use.
Creative Writing lessons include tips on How to Evaluate assignments and include a checklist to help you track your children’s progress. Rubrics can also be used before and during an assignment to to give your child an outline of expectations.
BookShark LAMP provides students who enroll in a BookShark Virtual Language Arts course with a professional teacher to mentor them through their writing assignments, providing feedback and grading.
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