I have two questions about 4th grade language arts, one of them specifically about the subjects Sonya laid out in her post.
When you say that Vocabulary is "picked up through Literature readings," I'm wondering if there are specific recommendations on methodology. We have merely been moving along through our various selections, and I will pick out a word here and there, either asking the children if they can tell me what it means or giving them a general definition myself. Sometimes, if the word is specific to a topic or time period, we'll look it up (because Mom readily admits she is unfamiliar with the word--and I think that admission is valuable to their learning). Of course, there are also times when one of the children will ask the meaning of a word. Should I be doing something more specific than this? Or are there additional ideas to reinforce vocabulary acquisition? I also just realized, while thinking about this, that my children rarely ask for definitions of words when reading independently....and I don't think they are looking up many on their own. Yikes!
My second question is this: I have a 10yo 4th grader who is not a very strong reader. Prior to Fall 2010, she was enrolled in an online public charter school for a couple of years, and they introduced parts of speech and types of sentences in 2nd and 3rd grade. We did not use any grammar program this year, but I intend to use something for her and her 11yo brother (who reads at about an early 2nd grade level) beginning Fall 2011. Since both are somewhat struggling readers yet both have studied sentences and parts of speech, which program would be most suited to this scenario? Any recommendations?