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Review of Learning Language Arts Through Literature LLATL
Review By Harriet Yoder
Using an integrated approach, Learning Language Arts Through Literature (LLATL) is an excellent program and a reasonably priced solution to language arts needs. I have used the Yellow, Orange, Tan, and Green LLATL books with wonderful results. My review applies to those levels. The authors made excellent selections for the literature passages and book studies. If the child enjoys a literature passage, he may want to read the whole book!
Having used a variety of resources for teaching the various language arts subjects, it is a relief to have the subjects combined in one book. For example, we typically used separate grammar, spelling, vocabulary, composition, handwriting, reading, and literature resources. Since all of these areas are covered in LLAL, we no longer have to do the "book flipping!" You know, "Go get this book, now go get that book, etc." It's all in one book, and that's a blessing to me.
While the overall Learning Language Arts Through Literature program is very good, if your child has an area that needs extra attention, you can always supplement with a separate text for that particular subject. For example, if a child is having difficulty with handwriting, I can provide a separate handwriting text. Look at the total cost for separate grammar, spelling, vocabulary, handwriting, and composition student and teacher texts, you will see that LLATL is an economical alternative.
We like LLATL. It is teacher/parent friendly. My children like learning with them. This is the first program I have found that encourages my children to "want" to do the required composition and poetry writing. The lesson calls for a paragraph, and my children produce a page. I didn't do anything different , but now they want to do the writing! (remember, I have children in college so I've been doing this a long time!) The poetry units are thoroughly enjoyable and very instructive.
Multilevel Study is Possible
I easily used the same level for two students in close grades with similar abilities. This is possible because the books are flexible and provide adequate instruction for each exercise. Flexibility is provided by allowing the instructor to select enrichment activities (found only in the student book) and to choose which skills to review.
Doing the Lessons
At the first of the week we go through the lesson together. I work with them on the dictation, choose spelling words, and go through each part. If I feel that they can do a part without my attention, I assign it for them to do alone. Sometimes we skip an exercise if I know it's been mastered. We finish up later in the week, checking their work and finishing up the lesson. Being divided into five parts, you can easily choose to do one part a day, but my children requested that we do longer sessions.
True confession #1: I put off using this series BECAUSE of the dictation which I thought was not that big a deal.
True confession #2: I must now confess that dictation is the neatest thing since sliced bread. It is a big deal.
Dictation of the short literature passage to the students allows them to develop listening skills, practice spelling, handwriting, and grammar, and build confidence. The listening and handwriting skills required for dictation are the same skills necessary for note taking in college. Dictation also provides a non-threatening environment for putting spelling and grammar skills to use. With dictation they have to figure out spelling, punctuation, and capitalization but they don't have to compose at the same time. Dictation is like a glue that makes all those grammar rules stick to the brain!
From Grade 3 on each level uses from 3 to 6 books (most use 4). All are available in paperback at reasonable prices or they can be borrowed from the library. (At Lamp Post we offer the book sets in the Grade 3 and up LLATL book studies for purchase with a 10% discount if you buy a complete book study set).
While the lessons are divided in an outline order with five main parts (1-5) and sub-headings (a, b, c, etc.), I wish the teacher pages listed the coordinating student text page number and I could tell them what page to start on. I know I can say turn to Lesson 12, section 3, part b, but I catch myself wishing for a page number reference.
Learning Language Arts Through Literature