Fourth Grade Language Arts: Reading, Writing, Grammar
Mrs. Larissa Sosa
Fourth graders will be using McGraw-Hill Wonders as the foundation for our reading studies. Wonders will be supplemented with novel studies, trade books, and poetry.
This year, students will focus on increasing reading fluency and continuing to develop comprehension skills in a variety of texts and across genres. Some specific skills fourth graders will work on include summarizing, identifying the main idea, sequencing story events, analyzing character traits, using context clues to decode unknown words, and inferring based on text evidence.
Students will visit the library every other week during language arts for a full lesson and book check-out. If it is not a lesson week, homeroom teachers will take their classes to the library for a quick check-out. Students should be reading daily at home, even if for just a short time.
To support your child in reading, ask them questions about what they've read. Who are the main characters? What is the setting? What is the problem or source of conflict? Describe the plot. Is there a solution to the problem? Predict what will happen next. What evidence led you to that prediction? If you could rewrite the ending, would you? How? Would you recommend this book or story to a friend? Why or why not?
Writing and Grammar
Students in fourth grade will begin writing personal narratives, and over the course of the year will be learning to communicate ideas and information through writing for a variety of purposes, including persuading and informing. We will begin by reviewing the basics- writing complete sentences, paragraphs and topic sentences, and using conventions (punctuation and capitalization rules). Effective word choice and varying sentence types will be an important focus through out the year. The following writing process steps will be utilized: prewriting/brainstorming, writing, revising, and editing. Students will work collaboratively to revise and edit rough drafts, or "sloppy copies." Grammar lessons will support our work in writing, as formative assessments will help identify potential areas for growth.
A major focus in fourth grade will be on the use of figurative language in writing, as it provides a creative way of "painting a picture with words." Fourth graders will learn about the following seven types of figurative language: simile, metaphor, onomatopoeia, idiom, hyperbole, alliteration, and personification. It's important to note that sometimes when students get excited about using figurative language, they use a bit too much and muddy the main thread or purpose of their composition. Reminding them that figurative language is most effective when "sprinkled" in, like salt on French fries, may be helpful. Imagine fries with a pile of salt- not palatable at all!
If you plan to have your child practice writing at home, consider choosing topics or prompts that he/she finds interesting. Keep in mind that any extra writing practice is helpful, so encouraging creative writing like poetry is great! Have your students write for authentic purposes to help them understand the need for strong writing skills; some ideas include a grocery list, a letter to a relative or family friend, or a thank you note. This becomes a great opportunity to reinforce conventions with your child.