- Student Workbook
- Teacher's Guide
This Integrated English Language Arts series is an up-to-date revision of Vocabulary and Composition Through Pleasurable Reading. It is a complete English Language Arts program that integrates vocabulary, reading, writing, grammar, and spelling. Practice exercises prepare students for standardized tests, but lessons are taught in the context of real literature, so learning is authentic. Carefully chosen classic and contemporary literature selections inspire students to become better readers, writers, and communicators.
The American Volume introduces students to an assortment of American authors of different periods, regions, and backgrounds. Students read excerpts from classic writers such as Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, and Langston Hughes, as well as modern writers such as Dorothy West, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Judith Ortiz Cofer. Each unit integrates vocabulary, reading, writing, grammar, and spelling in the context of these selections.
- Reading instruction. Most anthologies just contain literature; Currents combines great literature with real reading instruction. Each selection is followed by multiple-choice and short-answer questions and a Reading Strategy Lesson. Strategies include identifying author's purpose and point of view, comparing and contrasting ideas in a text, understanding literary devices, making inferences and drawing conclusions, using paraphrasing and thinking aloud to understand difficult texts, and distinguishing fact from opinion, including determining the reliability of a Web site when conducting research.
- Vocabulary in context. Vocabulary is taught in context and students apply words to new contexts, so they learn how to use the words rather than just memorize them. Each chapter contains a pre-reading vocabulary chart with words from that chapter's reading(s), followed by practice exercises, including sentence completions and synonym/antonym matching. The vocabulary words are underlined in the reading selections. Vocabulary charts contain phonetic re-spellings, designed to be more user-friendly than diacritical marks.
- Writing Workshop. Writing lessons have students use the writing process to compose expository, persuasive, compare/contrast, and cause-and-effect essays, as well as personal narratives and poetry. Students learn how to analyze a prompt and form a position, use supporting evidence, write a strong thesis, and create topic sentences.
- Grammar Mini-Lesson and Polish Your Spelling sections help students review writing and language conventions and avoid common mistakes. Grammar lessons cover sentence structures, eliminating fragments and run-ons, nouns, pronouns, verbs, modifiers, and punctuation and capitalization. Lessons emphasize why grammar matters and how it fits into the writing process. Spelling lessons include plurals and possessives, homonyms, troublesome consonants, and suffix patterns. Students create personalized spelling lists and learn to use mnemonic devices. Lessons emphasize spelling strategies, tricks, and patterns, so students aren't just memorizing spellings but are gaining tools they can apply.
- Standardized test practice. Reading and writing lessons are designed to prepare students for state and national tests. Grammar and vocabulary reviews are modeled after the SATs and ACTs. In particular:
- Reading comprehension: Currents contains fiction and nonfiction, and a combination of long and short selections, to mirror standardized tests (the SAT has longer readings, for example). Currents contains multiple-choice and short-answer (constructed-response) questions about the readings. In addition, students are often asked to compare and contrast two passages.
- Writing: Lessons teach students to decode writing prompts, which prepares them for the SAT essay and all standardized writing tests.
- Grammar: Students practice editing passages, which is important for state exams and for the SAT and ACT.
Vocabulary: Vocabulary is tested in reading comprehension questions and in sentence completions. On volume tests, sentence completions have one or two blanks, as on the SAT
- Unit Reviews. At the end of each unit is a review section with exercises in vocabulary, grammar, spelling, and writing. These reviews can be used as extra practice or as in-class assessments. Currents review sections contain both SAT- and ACT-style grammar exercises. Students identify sentence errors and improve sentences and paragraphs, as on the SAT and they correct mistakes in a paragraph, as on the ACT.
- Unit Extension Activities. Each unit is followed by a list of creative activities that get students speaking, listening, researching, and making interdisciplinary, cross-curricular connections, on their own or in pairs or groups. The extensions help teachers meet ELA standards for speaking, listening, viewing, research, and exploring other media.