The growth of personality as well as intellectual development comes about when one nurtures and develops his ability to communicate effectively. To develop the ability to communicate effectively the skills of reading, listening, writing, representing ideas visually, and viewing (language arts) are essential for this purpose (Nelson, 2011).
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According to Gunning (2010), though the language arts are independent from each other they are connected to one another. In this respect, written language comprises of both reading and writing. Spoken communication involves speaking as well as listening. On the other hand, visual language is a result of visual representations and viewing.
According to Gunning (2010), reading is the construction or derivation of meaning from a written material. Reading is a technique that provides a person with the ability to access a wide array of information that brings about fulfillment and enjoyment.
Reading is a fundamental aspect in the elementary aged student’s literacy process. Gunning (2010), argues that through reading elementary students explore their motives and investigate answers that facilitate the understanding of themselves as individuals as well as those around them.
For a reading program to be effective there is need for widespread reading among the elementary students accompanied by functional instructions from the teachers. In other words, the teachers have a role of motivating students and cultivating competence through setting goals, managing the behavior in the classroom and making assessments (Gunning, 2010).
According to Neuman, Copple, and Bredekamp (2000), writing is a technique that involves submission of an individual’s ideas by encoding them into comprehensible words fitted together to form understandable terms. It is putting on paper one’s ideas.
Elementary aged students in developing interest in writing motivate themselves and develop the ability to become mature writers. According to Gunning (2010), this comes as a result of highly effective teaching that facilitates conscious learning among the elementary students.
The teachers should encourage the students to be independent writers, provide motivation, and promote a feeling of competence. The teacher’s assistance should be secondary providing assistance when the student has difficulty in spelling, handwriting as well as encoding material on paper.
This will promote independence in writing among the elementary students (Neuman etal, 2000).
Speaking is the use of vocals for communication purposes via a particular language. In normal circumstances, elementary students have the ability to speak and express themselves freely. However, in some exceptional instances this is not the case as some students lack the capability to speak.
According to Nelson (2011), students develop a better and clearer understanding of speech when subjected to new experiences. In addition, a student may motivate himself to develop ample ways of vocally expressing themselves when they develop new interests.
In this respect, a student at elementary level to develop new interests should have diverse experiences to develop their speech and ability to express themselves.
According to Gunning (2010), listening becomes the first language art any human being develops. In hearing technological sounds, sounds of nature and the speech of other people infants develop clues of their environmental surroundings.
At this age, they are not able to discern what they hear and cannot tune out much. In entering elementary ages, a student should be able to get deeper meaning and purpose in what they hear around them. At this stage, many students have difficulty in distinguishing what they are supposed to pay attention to and what they should ignore.
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The technique of reading aloud as well as asking questions develops the skill of listening. According to Gunning (2010), teachers in facilitating development of this skill should capitalize on what the students know and relate old concepts with the new in order to trigger familiarity that facilitate listening.
Viewing is the observing and inspection of visual media. It includes watching or observing materials such as pictures, videos, maps, and photographs. In developing this language art skill, the elementary aged student prepares a foundation for skills of critical thinking.
The student will need such skills in the higher levels of education. Viewing promotes critical thinking as the students in observing the visual images are able to understand their meanings by interpreting their content (Nelson, 2011).
According to Nelson (2011), visual representing is the expression of one’s ideas through visual images. With regard to elementary aged students, visual representing comes in the form of collages, drawings, diagrams, and models.
The student in conveying information should organize information, and convey such through a visual product. For elementary aged students the complexity of the visual product is insignificant. The important aspect is whether the visual representation has sent the intended message to the viewer.
In conclusion, Gunning (2010) acknowledges that though the language arts exist separately in their own respect, they are interrelated. For instance, when reading or speaking about a story filled with humor, the students will develop the concept of humor whereby they will recall the humorous things they had experienced. In turn, they will put such recollection in writing or through visual representing.
Gunning,T. (2010). Creating Literacy Instruction for All Students, (7th Ed.). Pearson: Pearson Publishers.
Nelson,A. (2011). The Six Language Arts Skill. Retrieved from http://manelsonportfolio.blogspot.com/2011/09/six-language-arts-skills.html
Neuman, S. B., Copple, C., & Bredekamp, S. (2000). Learning to read and write: Developmentally appropriate practices for young children. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.