English Language Arts (often abbreviated to ELA) is the study of the five categories of ELA: reading, writing, speaking, listening and viewing. It is also often defined as learning how to communicate ideas through the English language. ELA is distinctly different from ESL (English as a Second Language) studies, as ELA refers to learning performed by English-first, or English-native-proficient, students.
ELA is taught across elementary school, middle school and high school in the United States. Language arts in public schools will follow the Common Core curriculum. Each grade level will have a set of objectives to be attained by students within the year. In other countries, English language arts is typically referred to as simply “English”, and often follows a national curriculum. If you're from outside the US or follow a year-based curriculum (such as in the UK, Australia, New Zealand), visit our Primary English Curriculum.
Across the five categories, children will improve a series of sub-skills, from basic literacy skills, such as understanding phonics, to using figurative language and parts of speech in their creative writing, to reading comprehension to aid critical thinking development.
At the elementary level, reading includes developing comprehension skills, fluency, phonemic awareness, and vocabulary, laying a strong foundation for broader language arts proficiency.
Elementary writing provides children with prewriting support, covers basic composition rules, and exposure to various writing styles and genres such as storytelling, poetry, and persuasive writing. Mastering these skills lays a strong foundation for all other aspects of language arts and different subjects.
Spelling as an aspect of elementary language arts focuses on building robust spelling skills early on, to improve children's overall language proficiency and academic success.
The punctuation rules and principles covered at elementary level include capitalization and sentence structure, which both contribute to building effective communication and self-expression skills.
The guides linked above detail the standards required at each grade level for each of the key skills of elementary language arts. They also feature top tips, instructional materials and activities on how to help your child attain their grade level on each skill.
[full article: Why is English Language Arts Important?]
English language arts is important because it teaches elementary students all of the communication skills required for both everyday life and their future education. It teaches them how to write, speak, listen, read and interpret a wide variety of content produced in a variety of contexts: from short stories, to non-fiction texts, to films, to life-like conversations. It’s amongst the most important subject areas your child will study in terms of real-life, everyday value. Helping your child succeed in language arts at different levels in their academic journey is therefore a great thing to do as a parent.
Visit our language arts resources page to get your child to practice their skills depending on their elementary grade level.
By using a gamified and interactive experience, our award-winning program makes language arts fantastically fun for young learners, improving their reading & writing skills through thousands of language lessons, creative writing prompts, skill challenges, and word games. We also send out different worksheets every month to encourage children to improve their penmanship, and offer pre-planned writing assignments to save you time and stress!
Night Zookeeper works on tablets, laptops and PCs, making it flexible and easy to access.
“Night Zookeeper is a great resource! I was looking for a language arts resource that was comprehensive, fun for the kids, and not labor intensive for me. This is it! The games are fun, while still being heavy on language arts practice. The kids enjoy creating and writing about their animals. I can see what they have been doing on my parent dashboard. My favorite part may be that my children get feedback on their writing from the Night Zookeeper team. They find something to praise and something that they can improve it with. They are rewarded for revising and improving their writing.”
- Jen, parent, US
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