The St. John Language Arts Curriculum includes reading, writing, spelling, penmanship, speaking, listening, foreign language, and media and technology. The goals of the communications curriculum are:
“To read with comprehension, write with skill, and communicate effectively and responsibly in a variety of ways and settings.”
Writing and grammar receive the primary emphasis. Students are taught strategies for the entire writing process: pre-writing, the rough draft, revising, proofreading, and making a final copy. Spelling, grammar, correct usage, capitalization, and punctuation are formally taught and regularly addressed.
Writing is taught and assessed according to the Six-Trait Writing Model. Ideas, voice, organization, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions are the six traits that are common to good writing. Students are formally taught these traits, and student writing is assessed based on these traits.
Students are provided opportunities from kindergarten through grade eight to become interesting, confident, and capable writers.
Writing is incorporated into all subjects, giving students ample practice in explaining their thinking processes and in producing text for the intended audiences. Descriptive writing, narrative writing, explanatory writing, persuasive writing, report writing, correspondence, and poetry are included writing forms.
Students are encouraged to participate in Speech Club each week from September to February to sharpen their critical thinking, writing, and oral presentation skills. Tournament competition occurs within the Seattle Archdiocese, approximately three times each season. Categories vary but usually include dramatic, humorous, expository, editorial comment, extemporaneous, and impromptu. Students are coached in preparation and delivery of their speech material one afternoon each week.