Learning Language Arts Through Literature
A Brief Overview
Learning Language Arts Through Literature (LLATL) is published by Common Sense Press. This affordable homeschool curriculum has teacher manuals and student workbooks for first through ninth grades. (See the chart on this page for the grade levels and their corresponding colors.)
LLATL is whole language approach to teaching language arts. That means that English skills are taught in the context of actual language -- passages taken from classic children's books.
LLATL Grade Levels/Colors Key
More Details About LLATL
Learning Language Arts Through Literature is a full language arts curriculum in that it touches on all the areas of language arts:
- thinking skills
- library skills
- literary devices
- research and study skills
The lessons in LLATL are not time consuming. Depending on the grade level, each daily lesson can be completed in 10-30 minutes.
The books are organized into 36 weekly "lessons" which are further divided into five sections and a review. There is a student book which is designed to be consumable, but a child could certainly write his or her answers onto paper instead. In fact, you can use LLATL with the teacher's book only. The answers are in the margins. Simply cover the margins, and have your child use paper for his answers. You cannot use this program with the student book alone because the literature passages are found only in the teacher's guide.
A basic lesson starts with a dictation passage to be copied. The grammar, spelling, vocabulary and other activities are taken from that weekly passage. Normally everything you need for the lessons is included in the book. Of course, some basic reference tools such as a dictionary are necessary.
For levels 3rd through 8th, there are four novel studies over the course of the year. (The novels are not included. You will need to purchase or borrow them.) The activities for the novel are included in the curriculum and are to be used after reading the entire novel rather than as you go.
Depending on the level, there may be an additional special unit -- maybe research or poetry, for example.
Book Studies for Grades 3-8
yellow/ 3rd grade
The White Stallion; Madeline; Meet George Washington; The Courage of Sarah Noble
orange/ 4th grade
The Boxcar Children; Wilbur and Orville Wright; Benjamin Franklin; The Sign of the Beaver
purple/ 5th grade
Farmer Boy; The Trumpet of the Swan; Meet Addy;Caddie Woodlawn
tan/ 6th grade
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch; The Bronze Bow; Big Red - Kjelgaard; The Horse and His Boy
green/ 7th grade
Star of Light; Adam and His Kin; Much Ado About Nothing
gray/ 8th grade
Across Five Aprils; A Lantern in Her Hand; Eric Liddell; God's Smuggler
Is LLATL Enough?
Although LLATL is comprehensive and touches on every language arts topic, it may not be adequate for mastery of many areas. For example, if your child struggles with spelling or punctuation, you probably will want to supplement with additional materials.
Reading four novels a year is inadequate, so you will definitely want to assign additional books to read each year. Furthermore, the writing component of LLATL is not enough for grades five and up. At that age, students need regular paragraph and essay writing practice. If you are doing writing in the form of notebooking or have another writing curriculum, LLATL will be adequate. But alone, LLATL does not offer enough reading or writing practice.
LLATL is a very gentle approach that leaves you time for pursuing tangents and reading lots of living books. In my assessment, LLATL is a good foundation for hitting on the very basics. As such it can serve as a springboard to other, more in depth studies. If you want something your child can do almost independently (the dictation requires some help from the teacher) to keep his language arts skills honed, LLATL is a good choice. If your child struggles with language arts and you need a slower pace, LLATL is a good fit because it has short lessons with lots of review.
Crafting Your Own Language Arts Curriculum
I have not ever seen what I would consider a complete language arts program. So, like most homeschool moms, I piece together my curriculum using different materials. If you would like more help with selecting your language arts curriculum, try my very affordable eBook Designing Your Language Arts Curriculum.
In it I share what is critical and what is not as important in your language arts lessons. I offer suggestions for activities, curriculum, and overall philosophy.