Literacy Development




Restoring the image of God within each student is the ultimate goal of Seventh-day Adventist education, including its language arts program. Pathways: A Journey to Excellence through Literacy is based on a balanced approach focusing on individual student needs combined with effective practices. Current research in theories and principles of language arts (reading, writing, handwriting, and spelling) form the basis for these effective practices.




To achieve balanced literacy a student needs integrated and interconnected language arts experiences that are both receptive and expressive.




Receptive language is the taking in of information. The receptive language arts are defined as viewing, listening, and reading:


  • Viewing is the comprehension of visual media with other literacy knowledge. Visual media includes but is not limited to: film, video, print advertisement, commercials, photographs, book illustrations, charts, graphs, and diagrams.
  • Listening is a complex multi-step process by which spoken language is converted to meaning in the mind. It involves receiving, attending, and assigning meaning while employing different types of listening skills:


  • discriminative (to distinguish sounds)
  • aesthetic (for pleasure or enjoyment)
  • efferent (to understand a message)
  • critical (to evaluate a message)


  • Reading is a complex process of decoding words and attaching meaning. A balanced reading program includes the following areas of instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. The reading process involves the orchestration of a number of different strategies in a coordinated and fluent manner to construct meaning from print. Although the reading process can be broken down into discrete subskills which must be specifically taught, performing the subskills one at a time does not constitute the act of reading. This process is best learned within a comprehensive instructional framework, including the teaching of specific reading skills and strategies.




Expressive language involves the giving of information. The expressive language arts are defined as speaking, visually representing, and writing:


  • Speaking is the oral communication of thoughts, feelings, and ideas. There are three main types of speech:
  • Visually Representing is the creation of sign systems to demonstrate understanding with consideration to audience, purpose, and form. Visual representations are used to organize information and represent relationships about topics studied. It includes, but is not limited to, graphic organizers, video productions, dramatizations, story quilts, and various illustrations.
  • Writing is a strategic process for the written communication of thoughts, feelings, and ideas. The writing process has been divided into five stages: pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. Writing in the fullest sense means more than developing, composing, and spelling. In classrooms, the subskills associated with writing should first be taught in the context of a students’ own writing. Children learn these skills best when they are purposely taught through an explicit systematic mode of instruction.


  • aesthetic talk (lived through experiences of literature)
  • efferent talk (to inform or persuade)
  • drama




Pathways: A Journey to Excellence through Literacy organizes the essential elements of the six language arts experiences above around five target areas:


Target 1:     Extended Reading and Writing


Target 2:     Comprehending, Studying, and Evaluating Ideas


Target 3:     Reference Skills


Target 4:     Word Study


Target 5:     Sentence Skills




Special effort has been made to ensure that all of the essential elements found in The Integrated Language Arts Curriculum Guide are incorporated in the Target Skills. No one language arts experience is entirely covered in any one Target Skill, but all essential elements are included in the Pathways Scope and Sequence, Kindergarten—Grade 8. For instance, one would find the essential elements listed in The Integrated Language Arts Curriculum Guide for writing covered in Target Skills 1, 4 and 5.




A carefully developed integrated language arts curriculum, exemplifying Seventh-day Adventist standards, will ensure that all students are literate and can successfully communicate. A curriculum built with these essential elements in mind imparts more than academic knowledge. It promotes the balanced development of the whole child, to prepare individuals for citizenship in this world and in the world to come.