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Language Arts:  Intensive - Old and New Testament

Florida Department of Education (courses)
Grades:  9th to 12th (Adult)
Subject Area:  Language Arts
Course Number:  1000410
Course Title:  9-12 Intensive Reading
Credit:  n/a
Course Length:  36 weeks  (4 segments of 9 weeks is typical)
Hours of Accumulated Study:
  180 Hours (1 hour per day; 5 days per week)
Required Course Materials:

  • Balancing the Sword (Volume 1 or Volume 2) by Allen B. Wolfe
  • Reputable Study Bible Covering Old and New Testament
  • Audio/Visual Bible on DVD or CD

Step One. Read all the information below to gain a general sense of this course's

  • summary description,
  • major concepts and content,
  • requirements, and
  • achievement objectives.

Step Two. Select your biblical books. You may wish to reference the sample reading plan for this course.

Step Three. Use the BTS Reading Planner software to create an itenerary including the books that you've selected combined with your starting date and ending date. Click here for help determining when your school year should start and stop.

Step Four. Read the biblical books according to your schedule. Answer the Balancing the Sword questions in either the first or second volume as you progress. Reread each chapter when you fail to successfully answer the BTS questions. Check your answers against the answer key provided in the back of BTS.

* More specific instructions will follow.

NOTE:  In those instances when this course is repeated for credit, the content should be differentiated based on reliable and valid assessment data.  If students are making adequate progress (accelerated growth) in a given intervention, that intervention should be continued.  If students are not making adequate progress, a new intervention should be implemented.

Basic Assumptions for Reading Education:

  • Students entering the upper grades who are not reading on grade level have a variety of reading intervention needs. No single program or strategy can be successful in remediating the needs of all students. Therefore, it is necessary to implement a combination of research-based programs and strategies that have been proven successful in accelerating the development of reading skills in older struggling readers.
  • Instruction for struggling readers should be explicit and systematic. It should provide direct explanations (modeling) and systematic practice opportunities (guided instruction), as well as carefully managed cumulative review to insure mastery.
  • Improving the reading proficiency and achievement of older struggling readers requires intensive intervention (iii). True intensive intervention can only be provided through increased instructional time in classes that are below average in size. Students with more severe reading difficulties, such as those requiring instruction in basic word reading skills such as phonemic awareness, phonics, and fluency should receive instruction in a daily extended block of time. Students with less severe reading difficulties, such as those requiring instruction in vocabulary and comprehension may be taught in class periods of less time. The intensity of the intervention should be determined using the most recent data available from reliable and valid assessments.
  • Due to the extensive intervention needs of students in the high school, it is necessary to provide small group instruction on a daily basis. In order to facilitate small group instruction of three to five students per group, class sizes should aim for no more than fifteen students.
  • Students in need of intervention need highly-qualified reading instructors who have demonstrated success in remediating the reading difficulties of older struggling readers. Highly-qualified instructors should have at minimum reading certification or reading endorsement, as well as extensive staff development training in motivating adolescent struggling readers. The use of a reading coach is an effective practice for increasing the proficiency of teachers.
  • Reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing competencies are integrated throughout students’ learning experiences.
  • Instruction and materials accommodate the individual needs of students, resulting in differentiated instruction based on reliable and valid assessment data.
  • Technology is available for students to support and enhance development of competencies in reading.
  • Wide independent-level reading practice is incorporated on a daily basis. A classroom library should provide high-interest leveled materials representing a variety of genres and cultures allowing for the greatest degree of student choice. Opportunities for practice with audio support should also be provided. Teachers are responsible for monitoring students’ independent reading to ensure students are receiving successful practice. Students should be held accountable for their independent reading through use of a reading log.
  • Given the relationship between reading fluency and reading comprehension, activities targeted at increasing both rate and accuracy will be included on a daily basis for those students showing deficiency in these areas. These activities might include: read-aloud, repeated reading, partner reading, reader’s theater, and timed readings. Additionally, fluency should be monitored on a frequent basis, while keeping the focus of the monitoring on comprehension of the text being read through use of follow-up questions, as well as retell.
  • The amount of FCAT specific practice (“test prep”) should be limited, given most students’ vast experiences with the test and the relatively small role that knowledge of test format plays in student test performance.

A. Major Concepts/Content.  The purpose of this course is to provide instruction that enables students to develop and strengthen reading skills and develop independent reading endurance.

The content should include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • reading instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics (advanced phonics instruction that includes an explicit, systematic approach to orthography, structural analysis, and morphemic analysis), fluency, vocabulary and comprehension as necessary. The relative balance of instruction in these areas will be determined by screening, group diagnostic, progress monitoring and individual diagnostic measures of each student. Each student’s instructional goals will be specified in his/her Academic Improvement Plan (AIP)
  • critical thinking, problem-solving, and test-taking skills and strategies
  • reading for meaning through varied reading materials at appropriate independent and instructional reading levels representing a minimum balance of 70% /30% informational to narrative text
  • integration of reading with student written responses to text
  • high frequency content area vocabulary

Course student performance standards must be adopted by the district, and they must reflect appropriate Sunshine State Standards benchmarks.

B. Special Note.  This course may be repeated by a student as needed; if repeated, the required level of student proficiency should increase.

The instructional approaches used in this course should meet the needs of each student based on results of individual diagnostic assessments and progress monitoring. State recommended or district Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) may also be used in this process. It is the responsibility of the district to ensure that identified benchmarks are consistent with the needs of individual students.

C. Course Requirements.  The course requirements must be aligned with benchmarks for grades PreK-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 or a mixture of the four, as appropriate to the needs of individual students.  The Sunshine State Standards benchmarks and state-recommended Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) may be downloaded from the Florida Department of Education website at the following address:

Achievement Objectives (AO).  After successfully completing this course, the student will:

AO-1.  Demonstrate improved achievement in reading on the Sunshine State Standards benchmarks that were identified for improvement in the student’s Academic Improvement Plan. An objective assessment must be used to demonstrate this improvement.

AO-2.  Apply critical thinking, problem solving, and test-taking skills and strategies for assessments in reading in varied contexts.

AO-3.  Demonstrate use of complex cueing systems (i.e., graphophonic, morphemic, syntactic, semantic, and contextual analysis) to gain meaning from varied text.

LA.A.1.4.2 use a variety of strategies to analyze words and text, draw conclusions, use context and word structure clues, and recognize organizational patterns.

AO-4.  Demonstrate use of morphological analysis (i.e., prefixes, roots, and suffixes) to construct meaning of vocabulary.

AO-5.  Demonstrate use of appropriate and effective vocabulary, including specific content area vocabulary.

LA.A.1.4.3 demonstrate consistent and effective use of interpersonal vocabularies and academic vocabularies in reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

AO-6.  Construct meaning of text through inference, application, and analysis.

LA.A.2.4.1 determine the main idea or essential message in a text and identify relevant details and facts and patterns of organization.

AO-7.  Demonstrate use of appropriate before, during, and after reading strategies and critical-thinking skills to enhance comprehension of literary, informational, and technical text.

LA.A.1.4.1 use background knowledge of the subject and text structure knowledge to make complex predictions about content, purpose, and organization of the reading selection.

LA.A.2.4.2 identify the author’s purpose and/or point of view in a variety of texts and use the information to construct meaning.

LA.A.2.4.3 recognize logical, ethical, and emotional appeals in texts.

LA.A.2.4.8 check the validity and accuracy of information obtained from research in such ways as differentiating fact and opinion, identifying strong vs. weak arguments, and recognizing that personal values influence the conclusions an author draws.

AO-8.  Demonstrate flexible use of strategies and ability to adjust rate depending on purpose and type of reading materials.

AO-9.  Demonstrate comprehension of multiple sources of information in text and graphics through critical response (e.g., analysis, hypothesis, evaluation, synthesis).

LA.A.1.4.4 use strategies to clarify meaning, such as rereading, note taking, summarizing, outlining, and writing a grade-level appropriate report.

LA.A.2.4.7 synthesize and separate collected information into useful components using a variety of techniques, such as source cards, note cards, spreadsheets, and outlines.

AO-10.  Apply study and test-taking skills to enhance achievement.

LA.A.2.4.5 locate, organize, and interpret written information for a variety of purposes, including classroom research, collaborative decision making, and performing a school or real-world task.

LA.A.2.4.6 use a variety of reference materials, including indexes, magazines, newspapers, and journals; and tools, including [the Internet,] card catalogs and computer catalogs to gather information for research topics.

AO-11.  Respond to reading through thinking, talking, and writing.

LA.B.2.4.3 select and use appropriate formats for writing, including narrative, persuasive, and expository formats according to the intended audience, purpose, and occasion.

LA.C.3.4.2 ask questions and make comments and observations that reflect understanding and application of content, processes, and experiences.

LA.D.2.4.1 select language that shapes reactions, perceptions, and beliefs.

AO-12.  Demonstrate the ability to select and use materials for a variety of reading purposes, including reading for independent, recreational purposes.

LA.A.2.4.4 use a variety of reading materials to develop personal preferences in reading.

AO-13.  Demonstrate awareness of reading as a complex process, including awareness of the roles of reader, author, and text.

LA.E.1.4.3 understand various elements of authors’ craft appropriate at this grade level, including word choice, [double entendre,] symbolism, figurative language, mood, irony, foreshadowing, flashback, persuasion techniques, and point of view in both fiction and nonfiction.

Original Course Description - 2002 (source)
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Balancing the Sword is a structured study guide for every chapter of the Bible.