Language Arts and Social Studies

It seems important to have an overview of our language arts program, Open Court. We chose this program and continue to favor it because it is sophisticated, educationally enriching for all children, and phonics-based, with a substantial emphasis on the different genres of literature and writing. It is flexible and offers creative opportunities for both the teachers and the children. Because we follow the lessons, our teachers are assured that the children will be introduced to and have a chance to practice and master what they need in order to be successful and dynamic learners and communicators.

The program is also "theme-based." Learning to read, write, discuss, contemplate, and do research is structured around themes that are interesting and nourishing at the different grade levels. Stories in the readers were chosen to present different literary forms. They were also chosen for their content, which ranges from affective topics (such as "stick to it," "being afraid," "kindness"), science-related themes, history themes, geography, and economics. The writing projects are connected to the themes, as are the vocabulary words. Children develop questions and concepts based on the stories and themes. The subject matter is a curriculum in social studies. The themes provide a basis for field trips, art and craft projects, songs, library research, workshop activities, guest speakers, and more.

Along with the readers, we have gathered hundreds of theme-related books for each classroom. These books were chosen to represent all reading levels, so that children who are advanced readers at any grade level have appropriate choices for reading material, while children who are working hard at reading have interesting material that they can read successfully.

Teachers try to keep parents informed of the themes so that they can support the ideas at home with books, videos, and discussions and by drawing on their own experiences to share with their child.

The following is a composite of the themes for all the grades. It's fun to see the rich variety of ideas and knowledge generated by the study of these well-chosen areas!

Open Court Language Program Unit Themes


1st Grade

2nd Grade

3rd Grade

4th Grade

5th Grade