English Language Arts Primary

Course Outline

English Language Arts Primary–3 has been revised with the intent of

  • providing greater opportunities for all students to become literate
  • preparing students for the literacy challenges they will face throughout their lives
  • responding to continually evolving education needs of students and society
  • responding to current and proven research findings
  • bringing greater coherence to assessment and instruction in English language arts across Nova Scotia

Pervasive, ongoing changes in society, especially with respect to rapidly expanding use of technologies, require a corresponding shift in learning opportunities. This shift is necessary for students to develop relevant knowledge, skills, strategies, processes, and attitudes that will enable them to function well as individuals, citizens, and learners. To function productively and participate fully in an increasingly sophisticated technological, information-based society, citizens will need to capably and flexibly use 21st century skills.

This language arts curriculum is shaped by the vision of enabling students to become literate, articulate, and reflective individuals who use language successfully for comprehension and communication in personal and public contexts. English Language Arts Primary–3 is based on the premise that learning experiences in English language arts should

  • help students develop language fluency not only in the school setting, but also in their lives in the wider world
  • contribute toward students’ achievement of the essential graduation learnings

The recommendations in this guide are aligned with current research that directs teachers to practices that adhere to

  •   balanced literacy
  •   planned, purposeful, focused instruction
  •   gradual release of responsibility
  •   assessment for and of learning
  •   timely, descriptive feedback 
  •   learner-responsive differentiated instruction

The English language arts curriculum encompasses the experience, study, and appreciation of language, literature, and communication technology. It involves the language processes of listening, speaking, reading, viewing, writing, and other ways of representing.

The ultimate goal of language learning is the integration of language processes when skills and strategies are kept within meaningful language contexts. In order for this to occur, language learning is deemed to be both efficiently and effectively achieved through

  • instruction that is grounded in curriculum outcomes
  • instruction that is purposeful and planned
  • instruction that is appropriate to learners’ needs
  • focus of instruction that is made explicit to students
  • regular and frequent descriptive feedback
  • instruction that is differentiated

The English language arts curriculum engages students in a range of experiences and interactions with a variety of texts designed to help them

  • develop increasing control over language processes
  • use and respond to language effectively and purposeful
  • understand why language and literacy are so central to their lives


  • Learners will interact using effective oral language skills considering audience, purpose, and situation.
  • Learners will demonstrate a variety of ways to comprehend and select from a range of culturally diverse texts.
  • Learners will select, interpret, and combine information in multicultural contexts.
  • Learners will respond personally and critically to a range of culturally diverse texts.
  • Learners will convey meaning by creating print and digital texts collaboratively and independently using imagination, personal experiences, and feelings.
  • Learners will use writing and other forms of representation including, digital texts, to explore, clarify and reflect on their thoughts feeling and experiences and learnings.
  • Learners will create text including digital collaboratively and independently using a variety of forms for a range of audiences and purposes.
  • Learners will use a range of strategies to develop effective writing and media products to enhance their clarity, precision and effectiveness.

Updated January 10, 2024