A balanced literacy program is important for our students to read, write, and speak in the language of instruction. In addition, listening is an integral component of language arts. In The Read Aloud Handbook, Trelease explains how listening vocabulary supports speaking vocabulary, reading vocabulary, and writing vocabulary. He explains that reading to children and having them listen through a read aloud helps them because "you’re pouring into the child’s ears (and brain) all the sounds, syllables, endings, and blendings that will make up the words she will someday be asked to read and understand. And through stories you are filling in the background knowledge necessary to understand things that aren’t in her neighbourhood—like war or whales or locomotives" (P. 15). Therefore, students are able to speak a language, read words, and write words when they have built their listening comprehension. This is the basic development of reading in children.
Although Trelease explains this from the perspective of a read aloud, the notion lends itself to language arts and a balanced literacy program in general. Mostly, language arts and the balanced literacy program is described as reading, speaking, writing, and word work. Here, I divide reading into two parts: reading comprehension and reading fluency. Then, I delve into speaking/listening and writing as ways to complete the language arts framework. To learn more about each, click on the section (e.g. reading comprehension) to develop an understanding of what it means. Each section also includes a road map, providing teachers a flow of where to start and where to move forward because too much information can be a little overwhelming. I have developed each section of the language arts with that in mind, outlining clearly each section with its different components and resources for further learning.