Did you know that our world has about 6,500 languages? Sadly, only 20 percent of Americans speak a language other than English, but I think there is a solution to this. Over the past couple years, I have begun to notice that in many schools in the U.S., including mine, students don’t start the process of learning a new language until middle school. It would be extremely beneficial if schools instead thought about putting more money into acquiring bilingual programs for grammar school students.
The easiest way for someone to become bilingual is to start at a very young age, because their brain absorbs the sounds and rules of a new language naturally just like their native tongue. The older you get, the harder it is to learn a language because you have to study grammar rules and work around your already developed first language.
Some people think that a child only has room for one language in their life, and that to learn a second one, they would find it confusing. This is not true and in fact some places, such as Switzerland, have students learn up to two additional languages and by the time they graduate high school many of them are even trilingual.
A new language is one of the most rewarding experiences for anyone, but even more so at a young age. “During the first three years of life, the foundations for thinking, language, visions, attitude, aptitude, and other characteristics are laid down. It would be a waste not to use a child’s natural ability to learn during his or her most vital years when learning a second language is as easy as learning the first,” says Ronald Kotulak, author of “Inside the Brain.”
Some of the most crucial benefits of being bilingual are that a child’s focus, memory, planning and multitasking skills are better than if they are monolingual. Children can also ignore distractions easier because the part of their brain called the “executive function” is stronger in bilinguals, and this of course would benefit their academic performance in the classroom.
A second language can also help when traveling, especially a common one such as Spanish or French. Vacations to foreign countries would be more enjoyable, and it would open people’s minds to the different cultures of the world. My mother and father are fluent in Italian and English, so I know what it is like to be around someone bilingual.
A few years ago, my family and I visited Italy, where most of our relatives live. It was an amazing experience, but I felt a little bit out of place not being fully proficient in the language. Now, I think about how different that trip would have been if I had been able to communicate better. Everyday activities like listening to local music, watching a movie, or just getting a cup of coffee would have been effortless if I had known Italian.
Bilingualism at a young age also leads to many advantages in the long run, such as getting into a good college and having more career options. A second or third language can boost your chances of getting into a more academically advanced institution. Foreign language SAT tests are a great way of standing out during the college admission process. It’s important to show them what you’re capable of, and it can give you a head start by allowing you to complete the basic language requirement before other students. As the world is becoming more globalized, knowing a foreign language in business is also valuable. For example, someone who speaks Spanish has the advantage of communicating with people from 21 different countries worldwide. When applying for a new job, companies will certainly take this into consideration. If schools would teach languages from kindergarten through high school, more students would have the chance to go on to college, and have successful careers.
Grades 7 - 12
qualifying verbal/reading scoreor successful completion of Writing for an Audience
One-half academic year
30 weeks (academic year). Session Dates
Course Code: CDBL
Former U.S. Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch says an English Language Learner (ELL) is "a student whose home language is not English and who has not yet acquired proficiency in English."
Students can qualify for CTY with a very high verbal score and still be English Language Learners. CTY Online Programs created this course to help ELL students use English more confidently in their future CTY courses.
This 30-week course uses the same curriculum as the 20-week version of Crafting the Essay. In addition, it emphasizes grammar, such as verb tenses, pronouns and antecedents, and subject-verb agreement, focusing on the needs of English language learners. Students work on both sentence level grammatical structures and the larger content and structural issues. By the end of this course, most students should be prepared forWriting Analysis and Persuasion, but some may need further grammatical work in From Structure to Style.
Crafting the Essay uses the personal essay to explore narration, description, and reflection. Students discover and practice techniques that make prose more lively, interesting, and powerful. Students also experiment with a variety of techniques for organizing essays and for beginning and ending work effectively. As students' writing becomes more fluent, students will start examining voice (consistent diction and psychology) and how voice interacts with audience and purpose.
This format is highly interactive. Lessons include smaller exercises. As students work through them, the instructor comments on their writing, and both student and instructor collaborate to build a final writing assignment. Students also participate in a required, Web-based writing workshop in which students critique peers' work, praising strengths and pointing out areas for improvement.
NOTE: Crafting the Essay challenges all CTY students in grades 7 thru 12, including those who already receive high marks in English literature or Language Arts classes.
Readings are provided in the classroom.
Lesson Number & Title
Final Writing Assignment (FWA)
1-- Freeing the Writer Inside
Subject and Predicate
2. Sentence Patterns and Parts
Anthropomorphic essay from the perspective of an inanimate object
Becoming Functionally unfixed
Form vs Function
3. Molly and Ned Game
4. C-A-T definitions (group)
2-- The Power of Detail
Descriptive essay of a significant place, typically a room. Emphasis on sensory description.
The Power of Detail
The Limits of Visual Description
Prewriting Through Poetry
Finding a Starting Point
3. Object Description (group)
4. Five senses poem
5. Directed Freewriting
6. Free Association
3-- The Craft of Composing
Inconsistent Verb tenses
1. Present Tenses
2. Past Tenses
3. Inconsistent Verb Tenses
4. Revising your work
Chronological narrative essay, emphasizing order and importance of events.
Fiction narrative vs Nonfiction narrative
Tools of narrative
Avoiding narrative gumption traps
5. Learning to Lie (group)
6. Three sequences
4-- Elegant Sentences
Style vs Correctness
Elegance, Power, and Style
Elements of Elegance
1. Identifying Errors
2. Identifying Elegance
3. Analyze an Elegant Sentence
4. Revise and Analyze an Inelegant Sentence
5. Revision and Analysis (group)
Revision and analysis of 6 inelegant sentences
5-- Revising for Unity
1. Present Perfect
2. Past Perfect
3. Writing with the Past Perfect
Restructuring and Revision of Lesson 3's narrative essay. Emphasis on organization, flashbacks.
Unity, Coherence, Proportion
4. Outline your first draft
5. Virtual Stroll
6-- Analyzing Events
Verb + Preposition Combinations
1. Using Phrasal Verbs
2. Pronoun/Object Placement
3. Creating a Dictionary
4. Choosing Phrasal Verbs
5. Using Verb + Preposition Combinations
6. Test your logic
7. Using Verb Phrases Creatively
Cause and Effect Essay, analyzing a significant life event.
Narrative vs analysis
8. What is Cause and Effect
7-- Polishing Your Prose
2. Adjective Clauses
3. Subject-Verb Agreement: conjugate a paragraph
4. Punctuate a Paragraph
Revision of Lesson 2's descriptive essay, with emphasis on use of metaphor and simile.
5. Figurative Language
8-- Creating a Persona
1. "Conjugating" an "Irregular Verb"
5. Creating a Scenario (conjugation added to FWA)
First-Person piece, written from the perspective of a fictional person
2. Elements of a Persona
3. Persona's Voice
4. Consistent Psychology
5. Creating a Scenario
6. Working with a Persona
9-- Revision Strategies and Tactics
Transitional Words and Phrases
2. Virtual Walk Part 1: Grammar
4. Adverb Clauses
6. Preposition Game
Revision of Lesson 6's Cause and Effect essay, with emphasis on structure and transitions.
3. Virtual Walk Part 2: Structure
10-- Writing an Evaluation
Definite and Indefinite Articles
Pronouns and Possessives
2. Pronouns and Possessives
3. Restaurant Review
Evaluation Essay, evaluating the course; emphasis on addressing a particular audience.
Finding your standard
Choosing an audience
Choosing a persona
4. Find Your Standard
5. Positive and Negative Statements
6. Test Your Persona
7. Compare Standards
3hours weekly for 30-week session, with breaks for the holidays
This course requires a properly maintained computer with high-speed internet access and an up-to-date web browser (such as Chrome or Firefox). The student must be able to communicate with the instructor via email. Visit the Technical Requirements and Support page for more details.
This course requires that the student use a web browser with the Adobe Flash plugin. Note that many tablets and handhelds (particularly the iPad) do not support Flash and cannot view the lessons.