Language Arts Education: Why it's Important

New Horizons' Roxanne de Villava explains

by Abbie Pumarejo | Thu, January 26, 2017

We speak with Roxanne de Villava, Language Arts Director at New Horizons about developing important life skills through language arts education.

 

SF: What is language arts education?

NH: Language arts education focuses on language and improves students’ all around reading and writing abilities. Within this realm, students are trained to process different texts in an effective way. Part of this process is adopting different elements from reading, organizing ideas and putting it all into their own words in written text.

 

SF: Why is this an important part of your offerings? 

NH: We started as a test prep center in 2006. After some time, we noticed one major hurdle for some students: high personal scores were not obtainable because of unsteady foundations in reading and writing. It takes time to build comprehensive language skills that are imperative for students to succeed in academics. We decided to open up language arts courses almost six years ago to help students comprehensively throughout the years rather than to prepare them for only one standardized test. We hope to educate students not only for good scores, but to improve young minds.

 

SF: When should students consider language arts classes outside of their school curriculum?

NH: We offer courses as early as third grade and as high as eleventh grade. We teach at grade level coursework and provide small classes to ensure everyone is on the same page. Language arts education extends beyond our childhood and it influences how we lead our lives. The ability to communicate effectively is a determining factor in individual success. The earlier the start, the better. 

SF: How do you help non-native English speakers improve their reading and writing skills? 

NH: We mainly teach unadapted language arts materials to international school students. However, we also teach English language learners from local schools. English language and language arts instruction sometimes require contrasting teaching strategies. Therefore, we rely on our initial test assessments to first gauge our students’ needs, and then enroll them in the most suitable classes. Teachers are fully trained to provide more scaffolding tasks so they may delve into novels on a deeper level and write insightful and original essays. 

 

SF: For the older student who excels in language arts, what are some suggestions for future employment?

NH: First, students who are passionate about literature and writing are highly recommended to take English literature as a major later in college. With strong communication skills, these students will have a broad range of careers to choose from after graduation. There are many fields that reflect these strengths, such as publishing, journalism, advertising, marketing, film production, teaching and more. This is why English literature is a popular major in American universities.

 

SF: What can parents do at home to help strengthen their child’s skillset?

NH: Provide a time and quiet space to read, free from distractions; ask your child what topics he or she likes and then search for corresponding books. Modeling reading behavior is also recommended. And remember to reach out to teachers when extra support is necessary.