Story Grammar for Elementary School: Sentence-Composing Approach
What better way to convince young writers that "grammar" is a significant component of quality writing than to illustrate the concept over and over again with examples from some of their favorite authors? That is exactly the premise of this unusual elementary school grammar worktext. "Without grammar there would be no sentences. Without sentences, there would be no stories." Actually, it might be more fair to call this little course a writing worktext. The format is actually rather simple, but it may take a little while to really appreciate what is happening here. Starting with instruction in how to break sentences down into various components (chunking) and continuing through an examination of those components, the student is first shown examples always taken from the stories of well-known authors (we'll talk more about that later). Then they are led step-by-step through replication exercises until they have mastered a basic skill, then on to the next. Sentence parts (subjects and predicates), then those elements that give variety to sentences (clauses and phrases), and lastly, how one fits a collection of sentences together to form a story (parts of a story). At first the student is merely copying sentences without slashes or inserting slashes, but then they progress to inserting words, rearranging clauses or sentence parts, and inserting clauses or phrases. Always, always with an eye to a particular sentence model to follow or imitate. The ultimate goal, of course, is the student writing their own sentences and combining them into their own story. By the time they reach those types of assignments (in the last unit), they are familiar with a wide variety of sentence types and are ready to compose an interesting story.
The exercises in this worktext use sentences from hundreds of stories, surrounding the student with authors who are really good at writing, learning how good writers build their sentences, and developing practical ways to emulate what they do. You'll find examples from your student's favorite books The Hobbit, Trumpet of the Swan, Hardy Boys, Secret Garden, Velveteen Rabbit, Harry Potter to name just a few. (The index at the back of the worktext lists 157 titles.) A few authors are used extensively as examples and in those cases, the instructional wordplay parallels the author's work. For example, the final unit showcases sentences from the Harry Potter novels and tells the student "you'll conjure up everything you've learned to compose your own magic sentences." Because often the "answers will vary," there is no answer key. This is a bit disappointing in a few instances, but you'll soon get the "feel" of what the course is all about and not miss it at all. 111 pgs, pb ~ Janice