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4th Grade Language Arts (Independent Study)

4th Grade Language Arts (Independent Study)

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Quick Overview

This 4th Grade Language Arts course covers reading comprehension, analysis, composition, vocabulary, grammar, usage, and mechanics, including sentence analysis and diagramming. Structured lessons on spelling enable students to recognize base words and roots in related words. Lessons are designed to develop reading comprehension, build vocabulary, and help students become more independent readers, with an emphasis on classic literature.

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Course Overview

This 4th Grade Language Arts course covers reading comprehension, analysis, composition, vocabulary, grammar, usage, and mechanics, including sentence analysis and diagramming. Structured lessons on spelling enable students to recognize base words and roots in related words. Lessons are designed to develop reading comprehension, build vocabulary, and help students become more independent readers. The emphasis is on classic literature. Additionally, students read works of nonfiction, as well as four novels selected from a long list of classic titles. A test preparation program prepares students for standardized tests.

  • Composition

    Students practice writing as a process (from planning to proofreading), as they write a report, a book review, a persuasive essay, poetry, a news article, and more
  • Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics

    Students learn more about sentence structure, parts of speech, punctuation, capitalization, and usage. They begin sentence analysis and diagramming
  • Vocabulary

    The Vocabulary Workshop program helps enrich students' vocabulary, develop word analysis skills, and prepare for standardized tests
  • Spelling

    Students understand sound-symbol relationships and spelling patterns, and recognize base words and roots in related words
  • Literature

    Students learn to identify and analyze literary elements such as character, plot, theme, and setting. The emphasis is on classic literature, including episodes from Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver's Travels, and Pollyanna; legends of King Arthur; and folktales from many lands. Students read works of nonfiction, as well as four novels (selected from a long list of such classics as The Cricket in Times Square, My Side of the Mountain, and Sarah, Plain and Tall). A test preparation program prepares students for standardized tests.

    Course Outline



    Comprehension Strategies

    • Ask questions and support answers by connecting prior knowledge with information found in, and inferred from, the text
    • Make connections to personal experiences
    • Recall major points in the text and make and modify predictions
    • Summarize readings

    Comprehension Skills

    • Recognize the author's purpose
    • Identify the speaker or narrator in a selection
    • Identify and explain cause and effect in literary selections
    • Compare and contrast across selections and genres
    • Draw conclusions using evidence from the text
    • Make and explain inferences, using evidence from the text
    • Identify problems faced by characters in stories, and their solutions
    • Distinguish between fact and opinion
    • Identify the main idea and supporting details of a paragraph or selection
    • Recognize story elements: character, setting, plot (conflict and resolution), theme

    Informational Materials

    • Use titles, tables of contents, chapter headings, glossaries, and indexes to locate information in text
    • Follow multiple-step written instructions (e.g., how to use computer commands)
    • Locate information in charts, diagrams, maps, captions, illustrations, and photos

    Literary Response

    • Recognize different genres: biography, drama, legends, historical fiction, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry
    • Describe characters, using examples from the text
    • Describe how a character changes over the course of a story
    • Compare and contrast tales from different cultures


    • Identify line, stanza, and rhyme
    • Identify and use metaphors and similes
    • Identify and analyze how a poet uses language to appeal to the senses, create imagery, and set tone
    • Recognize literary techniques such as personification, hyperbole, alliteration, and onomatopoeia

    Listening and Speaking Strategies

    • Retell, paraphrase, and explain what a speaker has said
    • Read prose and poetry aloud with fluency, rhythm, and expression
    • Connect and relate prior experiences, insights, and ideas to those of a speaker



    Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics

    • Identify and form four kinds of sentences: declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory
    • Use the appropriate end punctuation mark for each kind of sentence
    • Identify the subject and predicate of a sentence
    • Identify compound subjects and predicates
    • Identify direct objects
    • Analyze and diagram simple sentences
    Punctuation and Capitalization
    • Use periods after initials and some abbreviations
    • Use postal abbreviations for states, without a period
    • Use commas in direct address
    • Use commas with yes or no
    • Use commas separating words in a series
    • Use commas in direct quotations
    • Use apostrophe to show possession
    • Use apostrophes in contractions
    • Use quotation marks for direct quotation
    • Capitalize first word in a sentence, proper nouns, and names of months, days of the week, and holidays
    • Capitalize the first word in a direct quotation
    • Capitalize abbreviations of proper nouns, initials, and important words in titles
    • Identify proper and common nouns
    • Identify singular and plural nouns, regular and irregular
    • Form singular and plural possessive nouns
    • Identify nouns used as subjects and direct objects
    • Identify and understand usage of personal pronouns
    • Identify and use singular and plural pronouns
    • Use pronouns as subjects and direct objects
    • Distinguish correct usage of I and me, and we and us
    • Identify and use possessive pronouns
    • Identify and use possessive adjectives
    • Use the correct form of an adjective to compare two nouns, or to compare three or more nouns
    • Use comparative forms of good and bad (better and best, worse and worst)
    • Identify and use demonstrative adjectives (this, that, these, those)
    • Identify a, an, and the as articles
    • Identify verbs in a sentence
    • Identify and use action verbs, being verbs, and linking verbs
    • Identify helping and main verbs in sentences
    • Identify and use regular and irregular verbs
    • Identify and form principal parts of verbs (present, present participle, past, past participle)
    • Use correct forms of:
      • begin, beginning, began, begun
      • break, breaking, broke, broken
      • choose, choosing, chose, chosen
      • do, doing, did, done
      • Identify and use simple tenses: present, past, future
      • Identify and form the present progressive tense
      • Identify and form the past progressive tense
      • Understand that a subject and verb must agree in number (singular or plural)
      • Correctly use:
        • is, am, are, was, were
        • do and does
        • there is and there are
    • Identify adverbs and understand their functions (modifies a verb, adjective, or another adverb)
    • Identify and use adverbs of time, place, and manner
    • Use correct forms of adverbs to make comparisons
    • Use correct forms of good and well; no, not, and never

    Letter Writing

    • Identify and correctly write the parts of a social (friendly) letter
    • Address an envelope

    Word Study Skills

    • Understand how to locate words in a dictionary and use dictionary entries
    • Replace words with synonyms
    • Identify antonyms to given words
    • Use a thesaurus to find synonyms and antonyms
    • Use the following homophones correctly:
      • to, too, two
      • their, there, and they're

    Vocabulary and Word Study

    • Understand and apply the definitions of given words
    • Write sentences to answer questions on a reading selection that uses the words in context
    • Write original sentences that use words correctly in context
    • Make connections between words and ideas
    • Identify synonyms and antonyms of given words



    Hold pencil correctly

    • Write lowercase and uppercase cursive letters correctly on standard-ruled paper
    • Space letters, words, and sentences properly
    • Copy short passages legibly and accurately



    • Recite a poem from memory, read an original composition, and read aloud a brief passage from a favorite book
    • Use techniques for effective oral presentations (e.g., stand straight and tall, keep your hands at your sides, speak with expression in a loud, clear voice, use complete sentences and proper grammar)
    • Maintain purposeful discussion (agree and disagree constructively, state ideas clearly and fully using complete sentences and proper grammar, synthesize and build on others' ideas, explain and defend ideas)
    • Give precise directions and instructions



    Writing as a Process

    • Understand and practice writing as a process (prewriting, drafting, revising, proofreading, publishing)

    Writing Guided Journal Entries

    • Distinguish diaries from journals
    • Use a journal to list possibilities for topics to write about
    • Describe a place or object in a journal entry
    • Respond in the journal to a cartoon or other clipping
    • Find and record expressions and quotations in the journal
    • Identify four kinds of paragraphs: factual, descriptive, persuasive, narrative
    • Develop paragraphs with a topic sentence and supporting details that relate to the topic
    • Plan and write a short essay based on a journal entry

    Writing a Report

    • Choose and narrow a topic for a report
    • Find sources for a report
    • Gather information using library and Internet sources
    • Compile a bibliography
    • Organize facts into an outline
    • Write an effective introduction and conclusion
    • Revise the report to improve content, organization, clarity, and word choices
    • Proofread and publish the report

    Writing a Book Review

    • Analyze a sample book review
    • Summarize the book to be reviewed
    • Gather information about the author
    • Evaluate the plot, characters, and setting
    • Prepare an outline for the book review
    • Write, revise, and proofread the review

    Writing to a Prompt

    • Examine different kinds of writing prompts to determine what kind of writing to do
    • Use the writing process--planning, writing a first draft, revising, and proofreading -- to write to a prompt
    • Practice writing in response to narrative, expository, persuasive, and descriptive prompts
    • Write to a prompt in a simulated test situation

    Writing Poetry

    • Practice poetic techniques to make any writing more active, imaginative, and vivid
    • Identify and use imagery, rhythm, alliteration, onomatopoeia, and refrains
    • Write and revise poems in prescribed forms
    • Write and revise poems in free verse and in rhyme

    Writing a Persuasive Paper

    • Distinguish fact from opinion
    • Support arguments with facts, experiences, and reasoning
    • Anticipate and respond to opposing arguments
    • Find and use sources to support opinions
    • Write, revise, proofread, and publish a persuasive paper

    Writing a News Articles

    • Identify the who, what, why, where, when and how in a news article
    • Distinguish between fact and opinion in news stories and editorials
    • Use research and interviews to gather facts for a news article
    • Write a lead for a news article
    • Use and correctly punctuate quotations
    • Plan and organize a news article
    • Write, revise, and proofread a news article

    Writing a Play (Optional)

    • Write dialogue and stage directions
    • Turn a story into a play



    • Short vowels, prefix re–, and base word magnet
    • Vowel suffixes, prefix un–, and base word create
    • Suffixes–s and –es, prefix dis–, and base word act
    • Ways to spell long a, prefix pre–, and base word port
    • Less common ways to spell long a, prefix sub–, and base word flex
    • Common spellings of long e, prefix dis–, and root struct
    • Long e spelled y, ey; i before e; suffix –en, and root scrib
    • Ways to spell long i, prefix mis–, and root spec
    • Long o spelled oa, ow, oe; prefix in–; and root val
    • Long o spelled mo, o-e; prefix bi–; and root rupt
    • Ways to spell long u, prefix semi–, and root dict
    • Ways to spell /oo/, prefix mid–, and root tract
    • Words with r-controlled vowels, suffix –fore, and root fer
    • Ways to spell /k/, prefix under–, and root vis
    • Words with /kw/ spelled qu and /shul/ spelled cial, prefix de–, and root cur
    • Words with the long e sound spelled i, suffix –able, and root vent
    • Words with c pronounced /s/, suffix –ly, and root scrip
    • Adding vowel and consonant suffixes, suffix –tion, and root cap
    • Adding vowel suffixes, suffix –ist, and root cred
    • Adding vowel suffixes, suffix –or, and root sens
    • /f/ spelled ph and /g/ spelled gu, suffix –ness, and root aud
    • /oi/ spelled oy, suffix –ous, and base word form
    • /ou/ spelled ou or ow, suffix –ous, and root pend
    • /us/ spelled ice and ace, suffix –ous, and root ten
    • Contractions, suffix –ship, and root lect
    • Compound words, suffix –ology, and root vita
    • Homophones, suffix –ive, and root cent

Additional Information

Course Length 12 Months
Prerequisites N/A
Course Materials

Many K12 courses utilize physical materials in addition to the online content.  These materials may include the following.

Standard Kits

STANDARD kits contain K12 course materials that are required for completion of the course.  These kits include K12 authored materials and/or difficult to procure materials that a student needs to complete a course. Printed reference guides are not included in Standard kits.


CONSUMABLE kits contain only those materials from the standard kit that are intended for one time use. Families who purchase a Standard kit for Child A could later purchase a Consumable kit for Child B to complete the same course.


Offered for added convenience, ADDITIONAL kits contain easily obtained materials needed for the course which a family may already have in their home. 

Coach and/or Student Reference Guides are available for purchase with some courses.  Electronic versions of these reference guides are also available within digital courses.

Course Start Date

Independent Study Courses

Courses can be started any day for independent study courses without a teacher. Full-year courses last 12 months and semester courses last 6 months.


Courses Taught by a K12 Teacher

Courses with a teacher have designated start dates throughout Fall and Spring. Full-year courses last 10 months and semester courses last 5 months. Courses are taught by teachers in K12 International Academy. For details on start dates, click here.

Teacher Assisted This course is available in two forms: taught by a teacher or designed for independent use. This teacher-supported course is taught through K12 International Academy. It is also available as independent study, where a parent will guide the course.
  1. Enriching
    review by Eileen W. on 8/11/2016

    K12 has THE best language arts curriculum ! Your student is solidly prepared for becoming a strong writer and will be able to gain significant comprehension skills. Students are given the skills to begin developing well thought out responses, they learn to develop critical analysis of passages and the reading they do in the course. The student is also stepped through the process of learning how to do all they are asked of in the coursework. The literature component is challenging and excellent! In the area of vocabulary, students are exposed to a vast array of words, root study, and I was amazed at how in depth it was. This was FAR better education than I received when I went through elementary school. K12 does an excellent job in the are of Language Arts and you would be hard pressed to find anything that tops this!!!

To use this course, you'll need a computer with an Internet connection.  Some courses require additional free software programs, which you can download from the Internet.

Hardware and Browsers (Minimum Recommendations)

Windows OS

  • CPU: 1.8 GHz or faster processor (or equivalent)

  • RAM: 1GB of RAM

  • Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.0 or higher, Mozilla Firefox 10.0 versions or higher, Chrome 17.0 or higher

  • At this time our users are encouraged not to upgrade to Windows 10 or Edge (the new browser)


Mac OS

  • CPU: PowerPC G4 1 GHz or faster processor; Intel Core Duo 1.83 GHz or faster processor

  • RAM: 1GB of RAM

  • Browser: Firefox 10.0 versions or higher, Chrome 17.0 or higher (Safari is not supported!)

Using  Mobile Devices with the Online School

Unfortunately, many portable devices do not support the software products required to run the Online School. These devices may include (but not limited to): Chromebooks, iPads, iPhones, iPods, Kindles, eReaders, and Andriod phones.

Internet Connections

It is highly recommended that a broadband connection be used instead of dial up.