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English Language Arts

Conventions of Written and Media Language

Print and images are read and produced differently. The following chart specifies the knowledge students are expected to develop about these conventions throughout their elementary education.  However, it is understood that students are not expected to locate or identify parts of speech in a discrete fashion, such as in an objective test. Rather, it is anticipated that students learn these conventions in increasingly more complex contexts and in relation to more complex texts.

Student constructs knowledge with teacher guidance.

Student applies knowledge by the end of the school year.


Student reinvests knowledge.

  1. Understanding the Conventions of Written Language
1 2 3 4 5 6
The student understands and applies conventions of written language to express thoughts, ideas and information for a specific purpose and audience, in own reading and writing:
  1. Grammar (sentence structure and syntax)
    1. Writes sentences in an order that supports a main idea or story
    1. Uses linguistic structures and features to express thoughts, ideas and information for a specific purpose and audience:
      1. In simple sentences by using subject, verb, modifier
      1. In syntactic structures that carry meaning, (e.g. the structure of a question, an apology, a request)
      1. In compound sentences by using prepositions, conjunctions, interjections
      1. In simple and compound sentences (i.e. varies types of sentences and uses transitional phrases)
  1. Usage Conventions (agreement and word choice)
    1. Uses vocabulary and/or terminology related to the type of writing
    1. Uses consistent verb tenses and correct pronoun references
    1. Selects words that convey the intended meaning and create a picture in the reader’s mind
    1. Uses literal and figurative language in a variety of ways (e.g. imitating, creating new words, rhyming)
  1. Mechanics (spelling, capitalization and punctuation)
    1. Capitalization
      1. Applies capitalization rules: the first word in a sentence, proper nouns
    1. Punctuation
      1. Applies end punctuation rules: period, question mark, exclamation point
      1. Applies rules for commas: items in a series, greetings
      1. Uses apostrophes to punctuate contractions and singular possessive
      1. Uses quotation marks to punctuate dialogue
    1. Spelling
      1. Uses conventions of writing: spacing between words and lines, consistent left-right and up-down orientation
      1. Uses invented spelling by choosing letters on the basis of sound for unknown or challenging words, e.g. kaj (cage) or hows (house)
      1. Indicates words that are misspelled
      1. Applies common spelling patterns/generalizations including: word families, regular plurals, prefixes, suffixes, irregular plurals, words ending in –y, doubling final consonant
      1. Uses resources to correct own spelling (e.g. environmental print, word lists, dictionaries, peers, spell check)
  1. Producing and Interpreting Media Texts
1 2 3 4 5 6
The student interprets and uses some common conventions of media language to connote meaning(s)/message(s) in a specific context/situation:
  1. Images (in photographs, drawings and illustrations):
    1. Uses and interprets the visual element of color (e.g. dark reds and blacks in a picture book to show anger or fear)
    1. Uses and interprets the visual element of perspective in illustrations or drawings (e.g. to connote a viewpoint, as in a faded, distant image that evokes a memory)
    1. Uses and interprets camera techniques, such as camera distance (e.g. long and medium shots, close-ups)
  1. Sound—in television, movies, some commercials (e.g. scary music indicates suspense)
  1. Visuals that convey information and/or ideas, such as timelines, graphs, graphics in comic books

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