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 FAQs About Learning Language Arts Through Literature

"What an improvement over the standard methods of language learning! In this series, students learn from excellent literature how to be better writers and thinkers. I highly recommend it."  --- Dr. Ruth Beechick, author of You Can Teach Your Child Successfully

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1. Is the 1998 edition of LLATL the most current?

2. LLATL looks so simple. Is it really effective?

3. If a student has been using a traditional workbook program, how do I know where to place him in the LLATL series? Will the student be missing important skills by not completing prior books in the series?

4. I notice each book contains 32-36 lessons. How do I spread the lessons throughout a year?

5. How do I grade my studentís work using the LLATL program?

6. What is dictation and how can this method benefit the student?

7. Does the student need to read the books used as dictation passages?

8. How is spelling integrated into LLATL?

9. What if the student needs more review of the skills?

10. Can a student work independently in Learning Language Arts Through Literature?

11. What is in the Student Activity Book for LLATL?

12. At what level of the LLATL program are letter recognition, phonics, and beginning reading skills taught?

13. I am purchasing The Blue Book and The Red Book. Are the Teacher and Student Activity Books necessary for each?

14. What is the difference between the 'readers' and the 'real book read alouds' The Blue Book and The Red Book programs?

15. How do you use the Book Studies? Should my student read the book before beginning a Book Study?

16. Are there other resources that can help me?

17. Does the Learning Language Arts Through Literature series contain Christian content?



1. Learning Language Arts Through Literature was revised in 1998. Using the integrated language approach, the easy-to-use format includes grammar and spelling instruction (words, tips, and rules). PLUS more creative writing exercises, study skill instruction, and higher order reasoning are incorporated into each lesson. Review Activities follow most lessons providing opportunities for additional skill practice.

Assessments provide quick and easy check-points for student evaluation. Teacher Notes and answers are conveniently found in the margins of the Teacher Book. The Skills Index provides easy reference for all grade levels.

Book Studies for grades 3-8 provide summaries, vocabulary words, comprehension, discussion questions, and exciting activities.

The Student Activity Books are now bound in a convenient book format. Student Activity Books are the perfect companion to the Learning Language Arts Through Literature series, encouraging the development of independent study skills. In addition, Enrichment Activities such as word puzzles, analogies, and logic/reasoning activities are found ONLY in the Student Activity Books. (Answers to the Enrichment Activities are found in the Teacher Book.)

Be sure to peruse the complete product descriptions. Sample lessons, assessments, and scope and sequence sections will aid in comparing skills.


2. LLATL is simple for the teacher to use and very effective for the student. Research indicates teaching language arts skills in an isolated format are ineffective in the practical use of them. So a student may be able to complete a workbook page on punctuation but not include correct punctuation in his own daily writing. When the skills are kept in the context of literature and writing they take on new meaning for the student. This method not only gives the student more understanding for the skills, but also adds to the retention of them. Our mail indicates that students who once disliked language arts when using a basal program, decided it was their favorite subject when they used Learning Language Arts Through Literature.


3. It isn’t necessary to complete all the prior books in the series. You can determine the best level in LLATL for your student by using the Placement Tests, Scope and Sequences, and Sample Lessons. Your goal is to challenge the student without frustrating him, so keep that in mind as you choose the grade level. Writing and grammar skills are usually reviewed at each level, so the student can successfully enter the series after assessing his current skill level.


4. Each LLATL lesson represents a week of work.

Each lesson in The Blue Book and The Red Book (first and second grades) is divided into activities for five days of the week. They are labeled, Lesson 1, Day 1, Day 2, etc.

The Orange Book (4th grade), The Purple Book (5th grade), and The Tan Book (6th grade) include Book Studies and Dictation or Everyday Words lessons.

Each Book Study is a unit on a particular novel. Introduce the novel and allow your student plenty of time to read it. You may complete the activities as your student reads the novel or complete them all after the novel is read.

Each lesson in all the other books (third grade and up) is divided into five days of activities also. For example, for each lesson you will find a number 1 followed by a, b, c, etc. These are all the activities you would expect your student to complete on Monday. Then you will see a 2 followed by a, b, c, etc. These are the activities for Tuesday. A review follows each lesson to be used at your discretion. Usually each day’s work will take the student approximately 30 to 45 minutes to complete.

The Yellow Book (3rd grade) contains a total of 36 lessons which include four Literature Links. The Green (7th grade) and Gray Books (8th grade) contain 36 lessons which include four Book Studies.

The Orange (4th grade) has 32 lessons plus 4 Book Studies. The Purple  (5th grade) and Tan (6th grade) Books contain 36 lessons plus four additional Book Studies.

This schedule is offered as a guideline to provide the teacher structure for lesson planning yet allowing flexibility to adjust the suggested schedule to meet the needs of each student.


5. LLATL provides lesson reviews and assessments which may be used in grading the student. In addition, grades and evaluations may be based upon writing assignments, daily work, and dictation exercises.


6. LLATL incorporates the dictation method into lessons integrating grammar, punctuation, spelling, writing, and thinking skills. Copying is used at lower levels and is suggested for older students who have difficulty with dictation skills. When a student uses good literature as a model, he is learning to improve his own writing skills. It trains him to look for details, strive for accuracy, and learn to write.

Since this method may be new to you, here are a few suggestions:

  1. Before dictation or copying, read the entire passage to your student.

  2. Begin the dictation by reading one sentence at a time. If necessary, repeat the sentence, reading it one phrase at a time. It is important to use your voice to stress pauses and indicate punctuation marks.

  3. Instruct your student to leave a blank space between each line so that corrections are easy to make.

  4. After dictation or copying, allow your student to use the passage to edit the work. At first, have him check his work one line or phrase at a time. Asking the student to correct the work all at once may prove to be frustrating. Usually the first dictation is given on Monday followed by the same dictation on Friday.


7. The student does not need to read to books used for the LLATL dictation passages. Some of the books used for dictation are out-of-print and difficult to find. They were chosen for the purpose of dictation or copying to complement skills being taught. It is not necessary to obtain or read these books.

The only books the student is required to read as a part of the LLATL program are the books for the Book Studies. Any other selections the student chooses to read will be supplemental reading. Although supplemental reading is not required, it is always a good idea to encourage your student to read more often. Many times a student will become interested in a book used for dictation or will want to read additional books written by the author of a favorite book from the Book Studies.


8. You have two options for spelling within LLATL. Your student may use a list of suggested spelling words found in each lesson or choose words from the literature passage. Easy to understand spelling tips give your student the tools he needs to be a better speller. Weekly tests may be given or spelling can be checked during the final literature lesson.


9. Throughout each level language arts skills are reviewed on a regular basis. At the end of each weekly lesson there is an optional review activity that provides your student with more practice in skills covered that week. You may assign him only the sections that he needs to review. Assessments throughout each book help you determine what skills need to be reviewed by your student.


10. Daily lessons include independent work. The amount of independent work will depend on the studentís ability and the grade level. Higher level books have more independent work. Using the Student Activity Book will increase the amount of independent work your student can accomplish.


11. The Student Activity Book is a companion to the Teacher Book. It cannot be used independently. Everything your student needs to complete the program is found in the Student Activity Book, including the literature passages, activities, and plenty of space for your student to complete a task. PLUS there are Enrichment Activities found only in the Student Activity Book, including word puzzles, analogy lessons, and logic activities.


12. The Blue Book Program covers beginning reading skills starting with consonant sounds, short vowel sounds, and long vowel sounds. The Red Book Program provides phonics review, new phonetic sounds, and reading skills.


13. Both the Teacher and Student Activity Books are necessary to the completion of The Blue Book Program and The Red Book Program. The entire program is needed for each as the Teacher Book references the Student Book and readers. The READERS should not be confused with the REAL BOOK READ ALOUDS.

14. The READERS were created by Common Sense Press especially for these programs. They address specific skills so most likely you will not find them available at the library. The READERS are necessary components of The Blue Book Program and The Red Book Program.

The REAL BOOK READ ALOUDS should be available at the library or on your shelf. The REAL BOOK READ ALOUDS are used to teach story skills such as setting, sequence, characters, and plot The Blue Book Program and The Red Book Program.

The literature PASSAGES contained within The Red Book Program are excerpted from books that are very, very old and most are out-of-print and impossible to find. These books are NOT necessary to the program. These were chosen for the purpose of copying and/or dictation to complement skills being taught.

The MATERIALS PACKET is a necessary component of The Blue Book Program. It includes cards used in phonics instructions, sight words, and games.

15. The Book Studies are units on a particular novel. Since we do not know how long it will take your student to read the novel, we suggest you introduce the novel, allow him to read it, completing activities for the novel along the way, if needed, and completing all the activities when the novel is read. If you are using a Student Activity Book, your student may use it for vocabulary words and discussion questions as he reads the book. While your student is reading the novel, continue with Dictation or Everyday Words Lessons.

We encourage you to be flexible when using Learning Language Arts through Literature. Most teachers we speak to allow a week or two for each Book Study.

16. For tips, hints, new product information and the latest Common Sense Press updates, subscribe to our Free Home School Teaching Tips E-Newsletter. For more information, Click here.


17. The Learning Language Arts Through Literature series is written from a Christian viewpoint and contains some Christian content.


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