English Language Arts Curriculum

    English Language Arts is taught using the district adopted programs Journeys and Spalding. English Language Arts addresses the areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking. Quality children’s literature is also used at all grade levels to support instruction. Rice incorporates Thinking Maps which allow students to visualize their abstract thinking into concrete images.



    Image of JOurneys Textbooks

    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) Journeys is the adopted reading program for all elementary schools in Chandler Unified. Journeys is a comprehensive K – 6 English language arts program. It provides an instructional system for reading both literature and informational texts, for acquiring foundational sills, and for developing mastery of speaking, listening, and writing.

    For CTA classrooms, Journeys is used as a companion to the Spalding Program. It is sequential, rooted in building strong reading skills, and utilizes high quality literature and non-fiction for instruction. Journeys offers students exposure to paired texts (fiction and nonfiction on the same topic), close-reading lessons, and required readings in which all students in a grade participate. Teachers also take advantage of Rice’s extensive collection of children’s trade books to meet individual needs in reading.

    Parents and students can access HMH Journeys materials through the Student Portal or the Think Central website.


    Journeys Link: 

    Think Central Login Directions




    Spalding Education Logo                         

    CTA classrooms use the Spalding Method as the basis for instruction in literacy. Research on learning to read tells us that reading is a complex process. Research also tells us that children of all ages need systematic and explicit instruction in the core elements and processes of reading to help them develop and use their skills efficiently and accurately. All Rice kindergarten students are taught the Spalding phonograms as a foundation in decoding and spelling strategies.  

    Spalding is a method or style of teaching that allows the teacher to observe the students, plan appropriate instruction and adjust instruction to meet student needs. Spalding uses direct, sequential, and multi-sensory instruction. Active participation of the students is an important part of the program. The Spalding Method teaches precise speech, legible handwriting, correct spelling, fluent accurate reading and involvement of learning and thinking processes to understand what has been read.

    There are 3 curriculum components to Spalding: Spelling, Reading and Written Composition. The Spalding philosophy is child-centered with high expectations for quality work. There is a purpose and a meaning for every lesson and the children are encouraged to develop higher-level thinking skills as they learn to spell, read and write.

     Spalding Method Wheel Image

    Spelling involves phonemic awareness, Phonograms with handwriting, development of high-frequency vocabulary and learning the rules and concepts of English.

    Written Composition develops an understanding of sentence structures starting at the simplest and moving to the complex. Children learn to apply and use spelling and language rules. Using the writing process, children write stories, reports, essays and more.

    Reading is an essential element in which the children learn literary appreciation, discuss the elements of literature, read quality literature, learn about the text structures and author’s purpose and, most importantly, learn to comprehend the different types of text they read- both through listening and reading.


    Spalding Links:

    Click here to view more about The Spalding Method.
    Click here to find Why Spalding Works.



    Written Composition develops an understanding of sentence structures starting at the simplest and moving to the complex. Children learn to apply and use spelling and language rules. Using the writing process, children write stories, reports, essays and more.

    Students are provided with quality literature in their reading lessons to serve as good models for developing strong quality writing. Language arts lessons ensure that all students have explicit, sequential, and cumulative teaching of the structures of language (grammar) and daily opportunity to practice what they have learned by writing sentences and compositions.

    Writing instruction is taught using Write From the Beginning and Beyond (WFBB) and Thinking Maps®. WFTBB is a K-8 comprehensive, systemically structured, writing curriculum designed to assist educators and students develop the knowledge and skills necessary for age-appropriate and domain-specific writing achievement.  Each of the domains of writing utilizes a combination of modeling, analytic rubrics, and mini-lessons that focus on the essential elements of effective writing. 


     Thinking Maps Logo

    Thinking Maps® are eight visual-verbal learning tools, each based on a fundamental thinking process and used together as a set of tools for showing relationships. Thinking Maps® provide a common language for meaningful learning. The consistency and flexibility of each of the Thinking Maps® promotes:

    • student-centered and cooperative learning
    • concept development, reflective thinking
    • creativity
    • clarity of communication
    • continuous cognitive development

    Students construct knowledge, much like carpenters working together using a common set of tools, to build a new structure. Thinking Maps® can help students become independent, reflective, life-long problem-solvers and learners. Below are the eight Thinking Maps® with the description of the thinking process involved, and examples of when each would be used.



    Additional information regarding our curriculum is available in the overview page.