ISD - The International School of Dakar

Language Arts


The critical and analytical skills learned at the International School of Dakar will enable students to express themselves with creativity, clarity, and confidence in an ever-changing world. Using a literature-based Language Arts curriculum, students explore and analyze the big ideas contained in the structures of language and the complexities of text, through reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Students explain and interpret a wide representation of authors from various historical periods, genres, and cultures.  Language exploration encourages empathy towards others while developing student self-knowledge and perspective.

Guiding Principles

We believe that effective language arts education is:

  • relevant, connecting skills, texts, and themes to students’ lives,
  • rigorous and supportive, recognizing the need for differentiated and scaffolded instruction to meet diverse linguistic backgrounds, learning strengths and developmental stages,
  • creative and engaging, providing students with active and open-ended methods for learning,
  • coherent and standards-based across the K-12 grades,
  • integrated and holistic within the strands of language arts (reading, writing, speaking and listening),
  • interdisciplinary across all curricular areas,
  • inquiry-based, embracing students’ questions and interests,
  • purposefully designed to expand students’ world view and knowledge base,
  • Anchored in critical thinking, building students’ abilities to analyze and synthesize universal themes in literature and complex ideas,
  • collaborative through an emphasis on thoughtful conversation and evidence-based critique,
  • Focused on strategic and capable use of technology and digital media for research and communication,
  • Infused with a multicultural perspective, through diverse reading and listening experiences and open-minded communication with people of various backgrounds,
  • authentically presented through a literature-based format.

Essential Questions

  • Why do we read?
  • What do good readers do?
  • How does literature help me understand myself and others?
  • Can fiction reveal truth?
  • How can a text have different interpretations?
  • Why do we write?
  • What makes writing effective and worth reading?
  • How do writers engage their readers?
  • How can we connect with, analyze and evaluate what we read, write and view?
  • How do we gather and use new information?
  • In what ways are ideas communicated orally?
  • How does a listener understand a message?