Thursday, 1 May 2008

Teaching the rules of English pt 2

I am thankful to Margaret, who wrote the following on an email list we belong to in response to my recent post on teaching the rules of English:

"Grammar made easy: A guide for parents & teachers" by Barbara Dykes ISBN 0868066168. Copyright 1992 but has had several reprints over the years. Approx $20.00 new. Local bookshop.

If I was starting again with grammar, this is the book I'd use. It is not a children's text, but a handbook for adults which clearly explains: parts of speech, punctuation, an in-depth look at verbs, sentences, common usage errors and also includes parsing and analysis. I went to primary school in the 1960's (gulp!) and by the end of 6th class had learned all this. Promptly forget most of it when we started highschool as that was the era of "who needs grammar?".

I would use this book as a guide over several years, supporting the child/ren to recognise each feature chosen to be introduced. I wouldn't go straight through the book, however, as I think younger children would find some of the concepts a challenge at first. Built on over a number of years through conversation and recognition within what they are actually reading and writing may overcome the repetitious nature many other 'exercise' approach books.

More resources by Barbara Dykes are here, including Spelling Made Easy (great to find an Australian spelling resource!). Beverly Paine of Homeschool Australia has reviewed this book favourably here. (Thanks to Margaret for these links.)

Dymocks sells Grammar for Everyone by Barbara Dykes ($40, a teacher/tutor text) and Angus & Robertson sells both Grammar Made Easy and Grammar for Everyone online but neither has copies in store. I think I'd like to check out copies because they seem quite promising.

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