Mastering ELA Before High School: Can it be done?

Mastering ELA before High School with Shurley English.jpg

It’s no secret that English as a subject area is a complex field of study that’s full of concepts and rules necessary for everyday speaking and writing.  In education, the subject is separated into five basic categories, including: (1) reading, (2) writing, (3) speaking, (4) listening, and (5) viewing.  The bulk of the concepts and rules for these categories are taught, reinforced, and mastered during elementary school (K-8).  The real shocker is that if students don’t grasp all of them before entering high school, they are destined to struggle until they do.

Can anyone master the basic concepts and rules of language arts? YES! (….and I’ll be the first to tell you repetition is KEY!)

It’s important to understand that repetition is the number one way for information to make its way to long-term memory. The more the brain repeats information, the more likely that information will be retained for future use. 

The Shurley English curriculum provides enough repetition to master the basic concepts and rules of language arts!  Lessons include daily practice of old skills while new skills are being added.  As students are taught how to merge a strong grammar foundation with the writing process, teachers can spend less time going over beginning grammar and editing skills and more time introducing and enhancing advanced grammar and writing skills.  Shurley English students learn to use their grammar and writing skills automatically with dependable results by the completion of Level 8.  This leads to higher-level thinking skills because students are stimulated to learn and use their own thought processes to solve difficult language problems. 

During high school, the focus of language arts shifts to an even more complex approach.  The New York Post provides a useful glimpse at some of the language arts expectations for grades 9-12 in the following post.  I encourage you to take a look it.  Here’s a snapshot at what it indicates students will do: 


- Make fuller use of written materials, using a wider range of evidence to support an analysis

- Make more connections about how complex ideas interact and develop in a book, essay, or article

- Evaluate arguments; assess whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is sufficient; detect inconsistencies and ambiguities

- Analyze the meaning of foundational US documents (the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights)



-  Make an argument that is logical, well-reasoned, and supported by evidence

-  Write a literary analysis, report, or summary that develops a central idea and a coherent focus, supported with examples, facts, and details

-  Conduct research projects that address different aspects of the same topic.


Speaking and Listening

- Respond to diverse perspectives, synthesizing comments, claims, and evidence on all sides of an issue and resolving contradictions when possible

- Share research, findings, and evidence clearly and concisely

- Use digital media (animations, video, Web sites, podcasts) to enhance understanding and add interest



- Find or clarify the meaning of words and phrases, using multiple strategies, such as context, Greek and Latin roots (bene as in benefactor or benevolent), and patterns (conceive, conception, conceivable).

-  Interpret figures of speech (hyperbole, paradox), and analyze their role in the literature or text


Can you see why it’s so important to master the basics concepts and rules of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing in elementary school?  If you truly want to ensure your students have the tools they need to be successful in language arts, repetition is absolutely vital.  Shurley English provides the perfect blend of grammar, skills, reading, and writing that you’re looking for in a curriculum.  You can rest assured that your students will gain competence, confidence, and a lifetime of communication success! 


Jamie Geneva

Jamie Geneva is the Senior National Consultant at Shurley Instructional Materials and is a seasoned subject matter expert in the realm of English Language Arts.  Her career with the company began during the days of the Shurley Method binder, which was pre-1st Edition, and has spanned across three decades.  Over the years, her various roles have included teacher, presenter, state representative, consultant, manager, and most recently, a Shurley English Digital Assistant.  You might not recognize her face, but her voice could certainly sound familar.  That’s because she’s recorded Jingles, Q&A Flow Sentences, and other Shurley English content for many, many years. 

Jamie and her husband, Garret, live in the foothills of eastern Oklahoma. She loves spending quality time with her family, traveling, reading, cooking, and staying connected on social media.

Ms. Geneva received her B.S. degree in Elementary Education and her M.Ed in Public School Administration from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, OK.