Language arts in the fourth grade has as its goal the desire
to keep children reading. In some schools, the curriculum is centered
on American literature. Other schools have chosen to allow the
children to make more choices from the widest variety of literature
possible and the least amount of limitations. Fourth graders are
able to read and write competently and are accomplished speakers.
Fourth grade students read fluently and with accuracy. They have acquired further
knowledge of word origins, learning Greek and Latin roots, suffixes
and prefixes. They use these roots to determine the meaning of
unknown words and passages and deconstruct and decode complex
words. They recognize synonyms, antonyms and idioms and use them
to determine meaning also. At this stage of their reading development,
students are expected to read one-half million words per year;
this figure does not include the reading they do for school. This
outside reading is considered to have a strong representation
of grade-level-appropriate text and as such, students are expected
to use appropriate methodologies when reading. However, reading
for pleasure does not require the same strategies as reading a
textbook or finding material in an encyclopedia. As has been true
throughout the learning process, students are expected to be able
to make predictions on what is presented in the text by reading
the chapter titles, indices, by looking at the charts, diagrams
and illustrations and by interpreting the text already read. As
far back as kindergarten, students have been training themselves
to make predictions about a text from its cover and the information
presented within. Fourth grade readers are expected to be able
to read multiple -step instructions in a basic technical manual.
They should be able to read aloud using inflection and intonation
to impart meaning and expression into the passages being read.
The students should be able to identify the plot, setting and
characters of a text and be able to determine why a character
makes certain choices. They should recognize the universality
of some literary tales and be able to recognize the character
of one culture in the texts of another. Upon further consideration,
the fourth graders may be able to describe why a character would
appear in the literature of two seemingly different and isolated
cultures. The students recognize similes and metaphors and can
explain the difference. They recognize the signifiers of each
and also can define other examples of figurative language such
as personification and hyperbole.
Fourth grade writers will select a topic, focus on some aspect
within that topic and structure a multi-paragraph paper with a
specific point of view. They will use specified format requirements,
using an introductory paragraph supported by further details and
basic facts and explanations. The students are also familiar with
the accepted conventions for writing an informational paper, those
of chronological order, asking and answering a question or cause
and effect. If the student is writing the paper by hand and not
on a computer, it will be written in cursive handwriting.
As this is an informational paper, all quotes and paraphrased
information will be cited appropriately. Various reference texts
will be used and also cited accordingly. The students learn the
organization of almanacs, periodicals and newspapers and how to
utilize the information from them. Fourth graders should also
be comfortable using a computer and should be familiar with the
terminology and components. Editing is done by cutting and pasting.
Students will also be able to write first person narrative and
make it interesting and accessible, using descriptive phrasing
and sensory detail to bring the story to life. In writing responses
to literature, the fourth graders will draw on previously read
works and the current text to support their conclusions.
These students have a strong grasp of the English language and
write and speak using proper grammar and punctuation. They know
the rules of style and use them accordingly. Fourth graders use
this knowledge to speak properly and make oral presentations that
are both organized and interesting.