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A quick glance through most curriculum guides and some textbooks will give the distinct impression that the language arts are composed of a set of "skills" (Otto & Chester, 1976). More implicit is the assumption that if these "skills" are mastered, then the art of language will have been achieved. And while some may not want to surrender this notion, the way out of the dilemma is not clear. What are "skills"? What purpose do they serve? Which are the language arts "skills"? What is the theoretical and research- based evidence on "skills"?

This article addresses the above questions, in order to determine what is fact and what is fiction about language "skills."

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