We build our high school Language Arts courses around novels, poetry, and other great literature. Through these works, our mentors make language, speaking, and writing assignments come alive for students. The Language Arts program integrates study of classic literature with our writing courses.
The greatest benefit of classic literature is the effect it has on our students’ minds. Through literature, they learn to identify themes, character development, plot, symbolism, and cause and effect. Then they become skilled at recognizing these elements in their own lives.
We believe that history is reflected in the great literature of the past. If we want to learn about ancient Greece, we can read Aeschylus and Sophocles. Their writings reveal the culture and challenges of their ages.
Similarly, when students take American Literature paired with U.S. History, they see how the events of the times are portrayed by the authors of the times. Other useful course pairings include World History with World Literature, and Government with Political Literature and Short Stories.
Integration with Writing Program
Our writing program is integrated across all subject areas. Our mentors use basic writing guidelines to ensure that all students meet minimum writing standards. The same guidelines are used in Literature, Art Appreciation, Biology, and all other courses.
Writing Tutor Lab
Students in language arts courses have access to our Writing Tutor Lab. Students can go to the Writing Tutor Lab to get one-to-one help as often as they like. Lab hours are posted on each course home page.
Lab tutors ask questions that help students discover answers to their questions. This method helps them become independent learners more quickly. Tutors also provide feedback, practice, and resubmission in a method similar to our Writing Feedback Loop.
|Courses||Recommended Grade||Credit||Delivery Format||Prerequisites||Versions|
|American Literature A||10||0.5||Live/Self-Paced||None*||Classic/Honors|
|American Literature B||10||0.5||Live/Self-Paced||None*||Classic/Honors|
|World Literature A||12||0.5||Live/Self-Paced||None*||Classic/Honors|
|World Literature B||12||0.5||Live/Self-Paced||None*||Classic/Honors|
*Classes include high school essay writing. We recommend students complete Writing A/B, Writing (Honors) A/B or a similar course that teaches grammar and the five-paragraph essay before taking these courses.
At Leadership Academy of Utah, all students are required to meet minimum writing standards in all disciplines––not just writing courses. Mentors in American Lit, Biology, Art Appreciation, and our other courses ensure students understand our basic writing guidelines, and they hold students to one set of standards. Writing permeates our lives; this unique, integrated approach mirrors the real world.
Writing Tutor Lab
Students in our writing and language arts courses have access to a writing tutor lab. The tutor lab is a place where students can go to get live 1:1 help. Official lab hours are posted on each course homepage.
Students can go to the tutor lab as often as they like. Our tutors are skilled, friendly, and helpful to students. Tutors don’t give students answers; instead, they ask questions that help students discover the answers on their own and become more independent. We have found that our efforts to train students how to write are most successful when we create a volley of feedback that includes feedback, practice, and resubmission.
Our writing courses are designed to help students become proficient in the fundamentals of English composition. Leadership Academy of Utah writing courses are taught twice per week and invite active student participation through discussions and application exercises. We take a structured approach to teaching writing and, we believe:
- Structural guidelines and specific requirements foster competency, independence, and creativity
- Mentors should introduce one concept at a time, model it extensively, and give numerous examples before requiring independence
- Students must practice writing daily. Shorter, more frequent assignments allow for faster progress
- Structure is rigid; style is fluid. Structure develops organizational skills while style brings writing to life. Both are essential
In short, we believe that structured writing is an excellent process to help students develop excellent writing skills.
Students take either Writing Fundamentals or Writing their freshman year. Students only need to take one of these courses to graduate, but many choose to complete all four semesters of our Writing courses in order to further develop their writing skills.
Writing Fundamentals is for students who need a review of paragraph and multi-paragraph essay construction, as well as grammar, punctuation, and mechanics.
Writing A and B assume that students have had an introduction to these topics and are ready to practice applying them in various types of essay construction from the beginning of the course.
Journalism and Creative Writing are also popular courses that improve writing in an alternative way.
The Feedback Loop
Feedback should be specific, useful, and timely. In the LAU Writing Feedback Loop, a student:
- receives clear instruction from a mentor in the first class each week
- practices applying new skills on a specific assignment
- receives pointed written feedback and instruction
- receives further instruction in the second class each week
- practices applying the skills on another assignment
- receives written feedback
Students go through this loop every week.
What programs influenced our writing program?
Our program has been influenced by other structured writing programs, such as The Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW). In fact, our high school mentors continue to participate in IEW trainings. Students with IEW experience will see familiar tools in our writing programs, but no IEW experience is necessary.
Literature is the most compelling way to learn about human nature and our own humanity. The stories and literary constructs themselves have value, but what happens to our own souls as we immerse ourselves in classical literature is of greatest value. As we learn to identify character development, symbolism and true principles in literature, we become more skilled at recognizing them in our own daily lives. As we experience the successes and sorrows of memorable characters, we equip ourselves with the courage and understanding necessary to move forward in the stories of our own lives.
For us, literature is intimately connected to history. For instance, there is no better way to learn about Ancient Greece than reading Aeschylus and Sophocles. So, it is ideal if students can take U.S. History in conjunction with American Literature, World History with World Literature and Government with Political Literature and Short Stories.