Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Grammar lessons are my biggest hurdle as far as required subjects is concerned. I just want to know what everyone else uses for grammar. I have 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 7th graders. They've had very little formal grammar instruction although my 7th grader is an incredible reader and writer. She wants to be an author when she grows up. We've done a tiny bit with Easy Grammar and are currently working on Writing Strands 2 and 3.
I'm just curious what everyone uses and why.

I've had recommendations for the Building Christian Writing from Rod & Staff but am not sure how I would choose where to start.

Thanks for your input.


Monica said...

We learn 95 of all grammar by the time we're 5 - so really if you've been reading and talking to your kids all along, most of the work is done.

I'm not sure about little ones ( I teach high school), but for older ones research shows that definitely kids learn grammar best when in context. So, have a list of skills (like this one: and as they read, find examples, point them out. Most states have this kinds of list on
their dept of education website.

Then, when your students write, make sure they are able to edit using those skills. Here's a mom who does something like this:

Sorry if this is so scrappy and not really a curriculum. It's more of an approach. Probably many different approaches would work fine.

May God bless your grammar!

DebD said...

I've used R&S English and like it quite a bit. I integrates grammar and writing - although I mostly used it for grammar. I've only used it up to 3rd or 4th grade so I can't say how good of a "writing" program it is for the older ones.

I have also used Winston Grammar. It isn't cheap. However, it is very hands on, if you have kids who like that. I liked teaching it - it was simple and I could *see* how the sentence was structured.

I am no help when it comes to writing as it is the hardest subject for me to teach. Out of my 6 only one has loved writing so far. If you have one who loves writing, how about considering a writing group of some kind - even if it is an online (emailing) group. That way they can bounce ideas off each other.

Mark Pennington said...

It seems to me that the key lines of division within grammar instruction (meaning syntax, word choice, usage, punctuation, and even spelling—a catch-all term that most English language-arts teachers use to describe the “stuff” that we “have to , but don’t want to” teach) have been drawn between those who favor part to whole and whole to part instruction. As a brief aside… isn’t this much akin to the graphophonic (phonics-based) and whole language reading debate? Anyway, here is my take on the assumptions of both positions:

Advocates of part to whole instruction believe that front-loading instruction in the discrete parts of language will best enable students to apply these parts to the whole process of writing. Following are the key components of this inductive approach.

1. Memorization of the key terminology and definitions of grammar to provide a common language of instruction.
2. Identification of grammatical constructions leads to application.
3. Familiarity with the rules of grammar leads to correct application.
4. Teaching the components of sentence construction leads to application.
5. Distrust of one’s own oral language as a grammatical filter .

Advocates of whole to part instruction believe that back-loading instruction in the discrete parts of language, as is determined by needs of the writing task, will best enable students to write fluently and meaningfully. Following are the key components of this deductive approach.

1. Minimal memorization of the key terminology and definitions of grammar and minimal practice in identification of grammatical constructions.
2. Connection to one’s oral language is essential to inform fluent and effective writing.
3. Reading and listening to exemplary literature and poetry provides the models that students need to mimic and revise as they develop their own writing style.
4. Minimal error analysis.
5. Teaching writing as a process with a focus on coherence will best enable students to apply the discreet parts such as subjects, predicates, parts of speech, phrases, clauses, sentences, and transitions to say something meaningful.

Of course, how teachers align themselves within the Great Grammar Debate (See is not necessarily an "either-or" decision. Most teachers apply bits and pieces of each approach to teaching grammar. I take a stab on how to integrate the inductive and deductive approaches in How to Integrate Grammar and Writing Instruction (See

Macrina said...

Hey, Susan! We use Rod and Staff English, too, and have been really happy with it. Emma is still working through English 6 "Progressing With courage" which has been a very systematic and graspable grammar study. I think you could do it with your kids in pairs. Even this one volume really covers a lot of the bases. Love to you all, Macrina