Engaging Grammar: Practical Advice for Real Classrooms
Does grammar instruction have to elicit moans and groans from students and teachers alike? Only when it’s taught the old-fashioned way: as a series of rules to follow and errors to “fix” that have little or no connection to practical application or real-world writing.
Teacher, researcher, and consultant Amy Benjamin challenges the idea of “skill and drill” grammar in this lively, engaging, and immensely practical guide. Her enlightened view of grammar is grounded in linguistics and teaches us how to make informed decisions about teaching grammar—how to move beyond fixing surface errors to teaching how grammar can be used as the building blocks of sentences to create meaning.
In addition to Benjamin’s sage advice, you’ll find the voice of Tom Oliva—an experienced teacher inexperienced in teaching grammar—who writes a teacher’s journal chronicling how the concepts in this book can work in a real classroom. The perspectives of Benjamin and Oliva combine to provide a full picture of what grammar instruction can be: an exciting and accessible way to take advantage of students’ natural exuberance about language.
Although she does not advocate for teaching to the test, Benjamin acknowledges the pressures students face when taking high-stakes tests such as the SAT and ACT. Included is a chapter on how to improve students’ editing skills to help prepare them for the short-answer portion of these tests.
By using sentence patterns, mapping, visuals, and manipulatives, Benjamin and Oliva present an approach to grammar instruction that is suitable for a variety of student populations.
159 pp. 2007. Grades 7–12. ISBN 978-0-8141-2338-6.