Friday, April 13, 2012

Exemplary Reading Teaches Grammar Naturally

I had a company contact me last week with an opportunity to share my ideas on grammar. They asked if I would like to write a blog post, add a link to their grammar checker website and they will compensate me. Well, this sounded wonderful! I'm not beneath taking a handout for my gift of gab. Then the niggling doubt started moving around in my head. Do I even know anything about grammar? I mean, we've used various programs, some with degrees of success. What the heck could I share that would be helpful? But I've decided to forge on through and see what spouts out of my brain. You be the judge of if its helpful or not.

Grammar in our family comes a bit natural. This is probably why I don't feel qualified to talk about it. We haven't had significant struggles trying to learn it all. But we do discuss it all the time. Someone will say an odd sentence and a head will pop up, 'Is that how you should say that?' Then a good-natured discussion will ensue and grammar rules will be Googled, and definitions of words will be looked up. Not all the time and more about definitions and spellings than grammar sometimes (although punctuation is a big hit around here) but it is a frequent occurrence.

In my opinion grammar should be naturally learned. Everyone should discuss the rules in normal conversations and when reading books. Good literary books. Although, some of the newer books which don't feel the need to use complete sentences do afford us great discussions on what the 'proper' way to write them might have been. Grammar is three things; Capitalization, Punctuation and Parts of Speech. All three can be learned easily from a chart, books and discussion, but most of all from exemplary books. In fact, the more a child reads and is read to, the greater the improvement in their grammar, writing, and vocabulary comprehension. Children absorb more than we think.

We've used Easy Grammar and Daily Grams the most although my youngest did enjoy the Rod and Staff program we used in 3rd grade that I had picked up at a garage sale. Honestly though, kids should be able to get a couple years of grammar in sometime between grades 3-7 and then they don't need constant daily instruction in the subject. It will be in their heads enough to help with reports and higher learning endeavors. As they grow older and have harder subjects they will probably need to refresh their memories, that's why I'm happy to have heard about this new on-line Grammar Checker.

By the way, I wrote a wonderfully convoluted post on grammar and then decided to go pop it in the company's website, (I have since written this completely new post you're reading now!) For all my talk about loving grammar and words and such, the program found about 10 mistakes. What?! From me?! But I'm perfect! A perfect homeschooling teacher! I can't make mistakes! But if I'm being honest, I got over the initial shock and was so happy there is a website like this, that can make me sound even more intelligent without my having to do all the heavy lifting. Think of the uses for this program. Kids can have help with writing their reports and research. It frees up us homeschool moms in the checking of grammar errors, punctuation or capitalization mistakes. I think it even has a plagiarism button as well. I could not be happier with the program!  What do you use for your grammar needs?

** Okay, I'm off to plug in THIS post and see how much it offends the Grammarly program. I'm hoping I did better this time! Cross your fingers (and stop pointing out all my mistakes!!)...**

1 comment:

Mary Prather said...

I agree that a lot of grammar instruction comes through the back door via quality literature! We love Writing With Ease, which gently incorporates grammar with writing.

Great post!

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