Tips for Teaching Grammar to Elementary Students. Grammar can bring groans and dismissive shrugs from students and teachers. There are so many strategies to teach grammar with some educators in the teaching grammar in connection with writing while others believe grammar should be taught in isolation. Even though grammar may not be a favorite subject to teach, there’s one argument that cannot be refuted: grammar is a pivotal skill to learn when it comes to writing, reading, and speaking well. Here are a few reasons why teaching grammar is important.
Grammar is the basis for strong, well-written sentences.
Before writers develop compound and complex sentences, they have to understand how rules work for subjects and predicates even in simple sentences. Knowing that each independent clause has a subject (whom or what the sentence is about) and a predicate (the action subject is performing) help students form proper sentences. I created this resource to help me with teaching this difficult concept – subject and predicate. Also, my students often struggled with the concept of using quotation marks. This always seems like a hard task to teach and to grasp. Over the years I have created some fun activities to help teach dialogue and quotation marks. See it here: Quotation Mark Activities.
In addition, students that understand how simple sentences work can then begin adding coordinating conjunctions to form compound sentences (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so). Even dependent clauses with subordinating conjunctions (i.e. since, while, as soon as, whenever, if, because, and more). One of the six traits of writing is sentence fluency. Writing that scores high in this trait has varying sentence structures and flows well. Until they understand subject-predicate relationships, sentence fluency is a challenge for most writers.
Here are some sample images from the Quotation & Dialogue Unit
Understanding how writing works makes you a stronger reader.
No matter what content you’re teaching, you are a reading and writing teacher. Knowing parts of speech and how words work together helps students understand the text they read. For example, understanding how adjectives modify nouns in sentences help readers understand the choices authors make when it comes to describing characters and setting in a text. For example, reading this sentence, “While walking home from her elementary school, shy and cautious Jane ran her fingers through her uncombed, stringy hair before bursting into tears”, gives an indication of Jane’s personality through the adjectives “shy and timid” as well as the words that describe her appearance.
Speaking well leaves a good impression.
Fair or not, people who speak well tend to have more opportunities. Using proper grammar during interviews for jobs and school, while visiting with relatives, and even in everyday conversations gives a strong first impression. This may be premature to think about with elementary students, but teaching them speaking skills early-on can build those steps for success later. Students who speak well also feel more confident in their interactions with adults and peers.
Knowing why teaching grammar is important can help your students succeed in reading, writing, and speaking. No matter how you choose to introduce and teach grammar concepts in your classroom, trust that it is imperative to help your students develop verbal and linguistic skills.
Here are my top 10 Favorite Books to Teach Grammar.
- I and You and Don’t Forget Who: What Is a Pronoun? by: Brian Cleary
- Behind the Mask: A Book about Prepositions by: Ruth Heller
- Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: What Is an Adjective? by: Brain Cleary
- A Cache of Jewels: And Other Collective Nouns by: Ruth Heller
- Fantastic! Wow! and Unreal!: A Book About Interjections and Conjunctions (Explore!) by: Ruth Heller
- Dear Deer: A Book of Homophones by: Gene Barretta
- Zoola Palooza: A Book of Homographs by: Gene Barretta
- I’m and Won’t, They’re and Don’t: What’s a Contraction? by: Brian Cleary
- Skin Like Milk, Hair of Silk: What Are Similes and Metaphors? by: Brian Cleary
- But and For, Yet and Nor: What Is a Conjunction? by: Brian Cleary
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