English Language Arts & Reading

It's All About Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening!

Second Six Weeks Unit Overviews and Key Understandings

Our students from PK through 12th grade are hard at work mastering the skills and processes that they need in order to be college & career ready. Browse these pages to find out what your children are covering this six weeks. Additionally, I cannot stress enough how important you are to your child's success in school. It is never too early to start reading to your children - babies are like sponges; they soak up every sound we make and will try to mimic what we do or say.


If you want to know how to be more involved in your child's school please contact me or your campus parent liaison to get more information.


Marta L. Salazar

Director of English Language Arts & Reading

Dyslexia Coordinator

Parent Involvement Coordinator

361-664-0981

marta.salazar@aliceisd.net

From Birth to Pre-Kindergarten

Parents are a Child's First and Most Important Teacher

Parents are a child's first and most important teacher and the single most influential factor in his or her development. Research tells us that children are more likely to be on grade level when entering school if they have parents who read to them on a regular basis, beginning in early childhood.

General Reading Tips:

  • Read aloud every day. Make reading aloud part of your daily schedule.
  • Join the public library. Take your child to the library each week and let him/her choose several books to check out and take home.
  • Look at the pictures on the cover of the book. Ask your child to tell you what they think the book is about.
  • Read the title of the book to your child. Tell your child the names of the author and illustrator. Read several books by the same author or illustrator.
  • Talk about interesting words and words that rhyme while reading.
  • Use expression while reading the story. Change your voice as you read the dialogue of different characters.
  • Encourage your child to be an active listener and allow him/ her to ask questions, make personal connections, and add sound effects or motions. He/She will begin to remember the story and join in as you read, especially with repeated phrases.


If you're wondering about book titles these are a great place to start:

Book Reading and Oral Language:

Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh

The Surprise Garden by Zoe Hall

The Gingerbread Man by Karen Schmidt

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle

The Three Little Pigs by Patricia Seibert

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Paul Galdone

Letter Knowledge:

Albert’s Alphabet by Leslie Tyron

Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming

The Letters are Lost by Lisa Campbell Ernst

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.

Dr. Seuss’ ABC by Dr. Seuss

Phonological Awareness:

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino

Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss

Some Smug Slug by Pamela Duncan Edwards

Math:

Ten in the Bed by Annie Kubler

The Greatest Gymnast of All by Stuart Murphy

The Best Bug Parade by Stuart Murphy

Every Buddy Counts by Stuart Murphy

Math Counts-Sorting by Henry Pluckrose


For more information click on the following links:

Kindergarten Classrooms

This six weeks students will be studying: Unit 2 - Author's Write for a Purpose

This unit addresses the purposes for reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Students examine a variety of literature representing various genres with multiple themes and topics. Patterns in phonological awareness, phonics, conventions and print awareness continue to be introduced and practiced in order to reinforce literacy learning and comprehension during independent and shared reading. Students begin to see the connection between listening, speaking, reading, and writing in order to establish effective communication of a variety of ideas based on relevance, enjoyment, involvement and information.

Unit Understandings:

  1. Understanding that print is associated with spoken language supports the development of reading and writing.
  2. Understanding literary elements facilitates the reader’s ability to make meaning of the text.
  3. Effective listeners respond to spoken messages.
  4. Authors write for a purpose.
  5. Identification of important facts in text creates a better understanding of purpose and meaning.
  6. Writers develop ideas about what they know
  7. Awareness of word patterns supports the development of word reading and spelling.

Unit Vocabulary:

  • Expository text – text that informs or describes
  • Fable – a brief fictional tale that entertains and includes animals that talk and act like humans and teaches a moral lesson
  • Fairy tale – a traditional story for children that is often magical and imaginary
  • Illustration – picture
  • Folktale – a story originally passed down in spoken form rather than in writing. Folktales include legends, fables, tall tales, and fairy tales. They may have recurring phrases (e.g., once upon a time, they lived happily ever after).

First Grade Classrooms

Unit 2: Readers Read for a Purpose:

During this unit, students examine literary works, informational text and media to establish purposes for reading and writing. They will identify topics in text and will determine if stories are true or fantasy. Strategies and processes are used to increase vocabulary and comprehension. Students continue to generate ideas and publish stories. They establish more control of penmanship, spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and grammar.

Unit Understandings:

  1. Awareness of word patterns support the development of word reading, fluency, and spelling.
  2. Readers create connections to make text personally relevant and useful.
  3. Effective listeners respond to spoken messages.
  4. Readers use strategies to support understanding of text.
  5. Effective oral conventions enhance interpretation of the message.
  6. Authors write for a purpose and readers choose text to reflect purpose and interest.
  7. Writers use personal experiences to develop stories which they communicate with others.
  8. Readers use strategies to support understanding of text.
  9. Readers create connections to make text personally relevant and useful

Unit Vocabulary

  • Fable – fictional tale that teaches a moral lesson, entertains, and often includes animals with human characteristics
  • Fantasy story – a story (that could include pictures or statements) that is not real or could not happen
  • True story – a story (that could include pictures or statements) that is real or could actually happen
  • Media – a variety of ways people communicate with others (e.g., print, digital, electronic, social)

Links to more information:

http://www.read.gov/aesop/001.html

http://www.taleswithmorals.com/

Second Grade Classrooms

Unit 2: Readers Respond to the Author's Purpose:

During this unit, students explore a variety of literary works, informational text, and media to establish purposes for reading and writing. Students identify topics and respond to text through writing by explaining the authors’ purposes. They continue to process sound/symbol relationships to encode and decode words as they become fluent readers and writers. Strategies and processes, such as making and confirming predictions, and connections are practiced and reinforced in order to monitor and adjust comprehension. Students continue to generate ideas in order to create and publish stories with a clear beginning, middle, and end. They establish more control of penmanship, spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and grammar.

Unit Understandings:

  1. Awareness of word patterns supports the development of word reading, fluency, and spelling.
  2. Readers use strategies to support understanding of text.
  3. Writers use personal experiences to develop stories which they communicate with others.
  4. Writers use conventions of written language to communicate clearly and effectively.
  5. Readers use strategies to support understanding of text.
  6. Authors write for a purpose and readers choose text to reflect purpose and interest.

Unit Vocabulary:

  • Purpose the intended goal of a piece of writing; the reason a person writes
  • Inferencea logical guess made by connecting bits of information. Readers make inferences by drawing conclusions, making generalizations, and making predictions.
  • Fable – fictional tale that teaches a moral lesson, entertains, and often includes animals with human characteristics
  • Legend – a traditional or historical story that is believed to be true by many, but has not been verified as fact.
  • Mytha body of traditional or sacred stories to explain a belief or a natural happening
  • Plotthe basic sequence of events in a story. The plot includes the problem and solution.
  • Settingtime and place in which a narrative occurs (past, future, present, real, imaginary)
  • Contextthe words, sentences, or passages that precede or follow a specific word, sentence, or passage

Links to explore a wealth of reading information and resources:

Third Grade Classrooms

Unit 2: Discovering other Literary Genres

During this unit, students continue their exploration of literacy through the genres of literary nonfiction, poetry, and drama. They identify and explain the differences in points of view between a biography and an autobiography. Students continue to explore the elements of character and plot through the dialogue presented in dramatic scripts. Students read various forms of poetry and describe the characteristics of the poems and the images they create. Sensory language is identified in literary text and explored in writing to create an experience that appeals to the senses. Vocabulary development increases with the exploration of prefixes, suffixes, antonyms, and synonyms. Word study is inclusive of genre-specific vocabulary, literary terms, and appropriate vocabulary from the literature.

Unit Understandings

  1. Different points of view can be seen in various types of text.
  2. Understanding literary elements facilitates the reader’s ability to make meaning of the text.
  3. The ability to decode patterns supports the development of word reading, fluency, and comprehension.
  4. Authors use writer’s craft to engage and sustain the reader’s interest and to make connections with the reader.
  5. Authors use form and structure to communicate meaning.
  6. Authors establish a purpose, and plan for the development of a story.
  7. Authors use literary techniques to communicate a story.
  8. Readers use strategies to support understanding of text.
  9. Readers create connections to make text personally relevant and useful.
  10. An extensive vocabulary supports the development of oral and written communication.

Unit Vocabulary:

  • Biography – an account or interpretation of a series of events making up a person’s life
  • Autobiographythe life story of a person, as told by himself or herself
  • Point of viewthe perspective from which the events in the story are told; the vantage point or stance


Links for information and resources:

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/poetry-teaching-tips-new-teachers-lisa-dabbs

Fourth Grade Classrooms

Unit 2: Understanding Literary Nonfiction and Drama

This unit addresses the structures of literary nonfiction and drama. Students study narrative stories for discussion and for writing purposes.Genre study connects reading and writing to allow students to become better writers and strategic readers that approach text meaningfully and purposefully, while optimizing understanding and communication. Students are immersed in a variety of literary works to comprehend text and communicate authentically about reading and writing. Autobiographies, biographies, and drama provide the avenue to allow students to make inferences, summarize, analyze characters, and provide textual evidence during their reading experiences.

Unit Understandings

  1. Authors often interview or conduct research in order to find out more information on a given topic.
  2. Effective listening and speaking builds background knowledge and supports collaboration.
  3. Authors use conventions of written language to communicate clearly and effectively.
  4. Authors use writer’s craft to engage and sustain the reader’s interest.
  5. Understanding literary elements facilitates the reader’s ability to make meaning of the text.
  6. Fictional stories sometimes contain information that mirrors a person’s biography/autobiography.
  7. Readers use strategies to support understanding of text.
  8. An extensive vocabulary enhances oral and written communication.

Unit Vocabulary

  • Autobiography – the life story of a person, as told by himself or herself
  • Biography – an account or interpretation of a series of events making up a person’s life

Fifth Grade Classrooms

Unit 1: Appreciating Literary NonFiction and Drama

Unit 2: Power of Persuasion


Unit 1: This unit addressed the understanding and analysis of literary techniques used in literary nonfiction and drama. During this unit, students continue their exploration of autobiographies, biographies, and drama by examining the use of language and literary techniques used to portray the events in characters’ lives. Students identify the use of sensory language, imagery, and figurative language in literary nonfiction texts. Dramatic adaptations of text are compared and contrasted with their original texts representing the same story. Students continue to identify and select comprehension strategies before, during, and after reading and continue to use literary features to make inferences, summarize/paraphrase, and make connections.

Unit 2: This unit bundles student expectations that address persuasive text to understand that authors write to influence, convince, express, justify, and promote a point of view. During this unit, students explore informational text through the examination of persuasive purpose. Students make inferences and draw conclusions to identify the author’s viewpoint or position. Students become more critical in understanding the relationships among ideas in persuasive arguments including parallelism, comparison, causality, and the use of persuasive techniques such as exaggeration, contradiction, and statements that mislead. Using the writing process, students compose persuasive essays that establish a position and provide specific supporting details such as sound reasoning, relevant evidence, and consideration of alternatives.

Unit Understandings

  1. Authors use literary techniques and elements to enrich the reader’s experience and understanding.
  2. Authors use writer’s craft to engage and sustain the reader’s interest and enhance understanding.
  3. Effective listening and speaking builds background knowledge and supports collaboration.
  4. Readers use strategies to support understanding of text.
  5. Readers use writing to communicate deeper understanding of texts.
  6. Readers create connections to make text personally relevant and useful.
  7. An extensive vocabulary enhances written and oral communication.
  8. Authors express perspectives and may impact the perceptions of others.
  9. Authors use techniques to influence the attitudes or actions of a specific audience.

Unit Vocabulary

  • Personal narrative – an expressive literary piece written in first person that centers on a particular event in the author’s life and may contain vivid description as well as personal commentary and observations.
  • Parallelism (parallel structure) – a rhetorical device in which the same grammatical structure is used within a sentence or paragraph to show that two or more ideas have equal importance
  • Comparison – the author differentiates (similarities and differences) information to support his/her viewpoint or position
  • Causality – the author provides causes and its effects to support his/her viewpoint or position
  • Exaggerationan overstatement or a representation of more than is true
  • Contradictory – conflicting, inconsistent statement

Link for resources:


Persuasive Techniques

6th Grade Classrooms

In the second six weeks sixth graders work with various literary elements in drama and fiction using various skills, processes and strategies to interpret the text and enhance writing.

Students make inferences, summarize, synthesize, and provide textual evidence during their reading experiences. An emphasis on the integration of listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills along with word study allow the continued development of the processes necessary for comprehension and written communication.

Students examine the elements of plot in various works of fiction and dramatic literature focusing on: exposition (introduction), rising action, climax/turning point, falling action, and denouement (resolution). Using the fundamentals of the writing process, students compose fictional stories to express ideas and feelings about real or imagined people, events, and ideas. Vocabulary, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar are studied throughout the unit to support comprehension and oral and written communication. Word study is inclusive of genre specific vocabulary, literary terms, and appropriate vocabulary from the literature.

Key vocabulary:


  • Exposition – an introduction that provides necessary details about characters and setting; the main problem or conflict is introduced
  • Rising action – the part of the story that develops the problem/conflict through a series of events that build interest and/or suspense; these events lead up to the climax/turning point
  • Climax/turning point – the highest point in the story where the problem/conflict reaches its peak; the turning point can be the event right before the climax, or can also be considered the climax
  • Falling action – the event(s) after the climax/turning point leading to the resolution
  • Denouement/resolution – the conclusion to the story that reveals the solution to the problem/conflict; not all stories have clear resolutions

To demonstrate mastery students may be asked: after reading a fictional short story, to design a flowchart summarizing the plot elements.

Flocabulary - Five Things (Elements of a Short Story)

7th Grade Classrooms

In this unit students use of a variety of skills and processes to study classical, mythical, and traditional literature representing a variety of diverse cultures. The goal of this unit is to enable students to critically analyze and compose text using literary elements, forms, and techniques specific to the genre. Fictional text and drama are used to help students to make inferences, summarize, synthesize, and provide textual evidence during their reading experiences.

An emphasis on the integration of listening, speaking, reading, and writing along with word study allow the continued development of the strategies necessary for oral and written communication as students encounter text that is more challenging.

During this unit, students describe multiple themes in a work of fiction, analyze how the setting influences the theme or message of a literary work, explain the influence of setting on plot development, analyze plot development through the internal and external responses of the characters, and analyze different forms of point of view. Students explain the use of dialogue and staging in drama. Students compose literary texts using the fundamentals of the writing process. Vocabulary, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar are studied throughout the unit to support comprehension of oral and written expression. Word study is inclusive of genre specific vocabulary, literary terms, and appropriate vocabulary from the literature.

Key Vocabulary:


  • Themethe central or universal idea of a piece of fiction or the main idea of a nonfiction essay
  • Mytha body of traditional or sacred stories to explain a belief or a natural happening
  • Dialoguethe lines spoken between characters in fiction or a play. Dialogue in a play is the main way in which plot, character, and other elements are established.
  • Stage directions – a playwright’s descriptive comments that provide information about the dialogue, setting, and actions during the play.

Resource link for more information:

8th Grade Classrooms

This unit bundles student expectations that address word study along with reading and writing processes and skills in order to interpret, analyze, and ultimately create nonfiction literary texts and poetry using effective literary elements and techniques. Literary nonfiction text and poetry are used to help students to make inferences, summarize, synthesize, and provide textual evidence during their reading experiences.. An emphasis on the integration of listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills along with word study allow the continued development of the processes necessary for comprehension and written communication.

During this unit, students continue to analyze literary nonfiction texts and poetry along with passages from well-known speeches focusing on the author’s use of literary devices/techniques and word and phrase choice. They continue to write personal narratives and poetry by applying more complex literary skills. The study of vocabulary, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar throughout the unit support comprehension and oral and written communication.

Key vocabulary:

  • Aphorisma concise statement of a general truth or principle (e.g., a penny saved is a penny earned)
  • Epigrapha quotation at the beginning of a literary work to introduce its theme
  • Summarize – to reduce large sections of text to their essential points and main ideas
  • Theme – the central universal idea of a piece of fiction or the main idea of a nonfiction essay
  • Graphic elements of poetry – capital letters, line length, and word position; also called the "shape" of a poem

English I

Unit 2A: Continuing the Journey through Poetry

During this unit, students use skills acquired in analysis of fiction to support their understanding and analysis of the effects of literary techniques (e.g., diction, imagery) in poetry. They write poetry utilizing effective structural elements and figurative language. Students listen responsively and give effective presentations using appropriate conventions for purpose and audience. Using writing for the comparison of themes across fictional literature and poetry fosters reading and writing connections and allows for development of more complex reading interpretation strategies.

Key Understandings:

  1. Literary techniques are used to heighten interest, appeal to an audience, and effectively communicate a message.
  2. Speaking and listening are a fundamental process used to express, explore, and learn about ideas.
  3. Readers make connections in order to better understand themselves and the world around them by reading a variety of texts and genres

Key Vocabulary:

  • Diction – choice of words in speaking or writing for clear and effective expression
  • Figurative language - language not intended to be taken literally but layered with meaning through the use of imagery, metaphors, and other literary devices
  • Imagery – the use of language to create mental images and sensory impressions. Imagery can be used for emotional effect and to intensify the impact on the reader. (e.g., the imagery of the phrase such sweet sorrow)
  • Understatement – a rhetorical technique, often incorporating irony and humor, in which something is represented as less than it actually is
  • Overstatement – an exaggerated statement
  • Irony – a literary technique used to create meaning that seems to contradict the literal meaning or events
  • Verbal irony – the use of words in which the intended meaning is contrary to the literal meaning (e.g., I could care less)
  • Paradox – a seemingly contradictory statement that on closer scrutiny reveals a deeper truth (e.g., life is but a dream)
  • Structural element – the basic form of a poem, including its visual presentation (e.g., line, stanza, or verse)


Unit 2B: Moving Forward with Drama

During this unit, dramatic forms (conventions) including monologue, soliloquy, and dramatic irony are identified and explained for their effect on text. Students write a script with a clear theme using techniques that communicate an understandable mood and tone. Using writing for the comparison of themes across fictional literature, poetry, and drama fosters reading and writing connections and allows for development of more complex reading interpretation strategies.

  • Monologue – a dramatic convention in which a speech is given by a single character, either alone or to others
  • Soliloquy – a dramatic convention in which a speech is given by a character while or as if alone; literally, "talking to oneself."
  • Dramatic irony – a dramatic device in which a character says or does something that they do not fully grasp but is understood by the audience
  • Paradox – a seemingly contradictory statement that on closer scrutiny reveals a deeper truth (e.g., Life is but a dream.)
  • Script – a written version of the speech and actions of performers, as in a play or film
  • Explicit theme – the author overtly states the theme somewhere within the work
  • Implicit theme – refers to the author's ability to construct a piece in such a way that through inference the reader understands the theme
  • Mood - the atmosphere or feeling created by the writer in a literary work or passage. Mood can be expressed through imagery, word choice, setting, voice, and theme. For example, the mood evoked in Edgar Allan Poe’s work is gloomy and dark.
  • Tone – the author’s particular attitude, either stated or implied in the writing
  • Character foil – a secondary character who contrasts with the protagonist in order to highlight aspects of the main character's personality
  • Sarcasm – a bitter form of irony, intended to taunt or hurt

English II

Unit 2A:Analyzing Poetic Structure

During this unit, students identify and analyze the purpose of patterns of rhythm and sound (e.g., meter, rhyme scheme) and graphic element structures (e.g., line length, punctuation, word position) used in poetry and explain the effects of literary techniques studied in Unit 01. Using writing for the comparison of themes across fictional literature and poetry fosters reading and writing connections and allows for development of more complex reading interpretation strategies.

Unit 2B: Deeper Analysis through Drama

During this unit, students continue to analyze specific elements (e.g., archetypes) and techniques (e.g., motifs) in a variety of literary works and investigate their effect on plot. Students continue to write scripts with a clear theme utilizing techniques that communicate an understandable mood and tone. Using writing to compare and contrast themes across various time periods fosters reading and writing connections and allows for development of more complex reading interpretation strategies.