The other day I found myself in the middle of a Facebook conversation about grammar resources. (BTW, I don’t know if you follow me on Twitter or not, but I’ve been sharing our favorite resources over there all week!) The conversation quickly evolved into a long thread so I figured since others were interested I could share how we teach grammar to our children here.
We’ve used a lot of resources over the years but last year we finally settled on a rhythm. The best part of this plan is that it’s inexpensive! You can provide an entire grammar curriculum for the elementary years for under $10! Yes, under TEN DOLLARS.
To follow our plan you need:
-a copy of Super Grammar by Tony Preciado and Rhode Montijo
-writing prompts (free on the internet if you run out of ideas)
It is so important to know how to write well. Your child’s future career (and Facebook reputation!) depends on being able to communicate sensibly in written form. Teaching grammar is boring though, and learning it is even worse. Do you remember diagramming sentences and circling possessive nouns in school? Well, sadly, most grammar curriculum hasn’t changed.
Super Grammer is a grammar book unlike any you’ve seen. Gone is the boring textbook and worksheets, replaced by a comic-book style story! Super Grammar is designed for children in grades 2-5 but also works as a great review or remedial instruction for older children as well.
Super Grammar has quickly become a favorite in our house, especially with my reluctant writer. Grammar lessons are presented in a fun, easy-to-read manner, and are taught by something my younger kids LOVE…super heroes!
Super Grammar is our primary resource for teaching grammar, coupled with a writing journal.
Here is how we make it work:
Monday – Kids think of or pick a writing prompt and writes in journal.
Tuesday – Read a lesson from Super Grammar and write a few examples in journal.
Wednesday – writing prompt
Thursday – Super Grammar, writing in journal
Friday – writing prompt
I have very loose standards of evaluation, you may think I’m nuts but let me explain.
Three of my five children are reluctant writers, so much so that one of them occasionally cries over their writing journal for 20 minutes when asked to use correct punctuation. Long ago my husband and I decided that in the elementary years the act of writing is much more important than the correctness of writing. Meaning, we would rather our children write without anxiety than learn to hate and avoid writing.
With that said, here is how we evaluate our children’s writing:
*These rules only apply to our elementary-aged children. We are a bit more aggressive with the evaluation of our teenagers, but that’s a post for another time.
First rule- if the child is showing signs of severe agitation or anxiety we do not correct their writing at all that day.
Spelling- We correct spelling of weird words, like homophones. We also correct the spelling of simple words, for instance yesterday my child spelled the word good as “god”, so we asked him to try again. We also correct words that were covered in our spelling lessons (we use the inexpensive Spectrum workbooks and the Spelling Bee app for iPhone)
Grammar – We correct grammar issues that we have learned about in Super Grammar but we do it in a very low pressure way. We’ll discuss the rule and how to correct their writing. We’ll leave it at that and cover the rule again the next day.
How much they write – This depends largely on the child. Miss Dreamer can write novels on a good day. Mister Man is the one who cries over writing (dear grown-up Mister Man: it’s true. Please call me and let me know how you feel about writing now because I really did stress over this when you were a kid!) so I only require 4 or 5 sentences from him on a good day, as long as he uses basic punctuation. Mister Giggles is still learning how to write so usually he only writes a few words.
I hope that has given you a good idea of how we teach grammar. I seriously cannot say enough good things about Super Grammar and how it has improved my ideas about teaching grammar. Sometimes it’s the inexpensive book that makes all the difference, know what I mean?
If you have any further questions about Super Grammar or how we “do” grammar, please visit Super Grammar’s website and drop me an email or leave a comment!