The language arts curriculum includes literature and related skills. These skills include phonics, spelling, writing, grammar, speech, vocabulary, comprehension and oral reading. Reading is taught using various methods sensitive to the needs of each student. Two resource teachers ensure that every child strives to achieve his or her full potential.
Students at St. John the Evangelist School are challenged to excel in the language arts. In the primary grades, 90 minutes a day are reserved for reading, writing and phonics. Teachers instruct students in small groups using basal readers. Students are expected to read and write fluently. They write in their journals on a regular basis and begin a portfolio in grade 3.
A phonics program begins in kindergarten and continues through grade 3; a spelling program is initiated in grade 1 and continues through grade 5. Love of literature is encouraged throughout the school day both in the classrooms and in the library program. The regularly scheduled library time enables students to discover areas of interest, to listen to new literature, and to explore these interests via supervised Internet access.
In the upper grades, students study literature and English. Students are placed in small homogeneous groups for literature. A separate English course includes grammar, essay writing, creative writing, oration and critical thinking. Beginning in grade 6, a vocabulary program replaces the spelling curriculum. The library and computer rooms are available to students for research, supervised Internet research, and writing reports. Portfolio work is continued through grade 8.
In addition to the formal literature/English program, students have numerous occasions to speak before groups. These include student-led liturgies, classroom presentations, student council campaigning and interpretive reading. Students regularly enter and place in regional writing and speech contests. A speech club offers training for middle-grade students who prepare speeches and short stories for competition.