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English Grammar Instruction That Works!

English Grammar Instruction That Works!
Developing Language Skills for All Learners

November 2008 | 240 pages | Corwin

"Andrew and Evelyn Rothstein have given teachers a model for teaching the structure of our language with fun and interesting strategies that can be used at all grade levels. They show teachers how to take grammar instruction from a stand-alone subject to an integral part of a complete literacy program."
—Kim Whitling, Fifth-Grade Inclusion Teacher
Franklinville Central School, NY

Build strong grammar skills to help students become better readers, writers, and communicators!

With today's diverse and standards-driven classroom environment, teachers are eager for a new approach to grammar instruction—one that builds understanding of the structure and nuances of English. This practical guide points the way to fun, engaging, and effective grammar teaching for Grades K–12.

Designed for classroom teachers, this resource covers grammar fundamentals that support vocabulary and writing skills. Readers will discover teaching strategies that encourage creativity and critical thought, based on a realistic approach to children's language development. This guide provides:

  • Clear explanations of grammatical terms as a refresher for teachers
  • Easy-to-implement classroom activities, including examples and word play from children's literature
  • Appropriate techniques for a broad audience of students, with specific suggestions for English language learners
  • Background on the development of English as a global language, promoting students' respect for diverse cultures
  • A teaching approach that supports the National Council of Teachers of English standards for English language arts

Help your students develop a deep understanding of English grammar and build a solid foundation for academic achievement and lifelong communications skills.

Our Point of View

Objectives and Key Points

Publisher's Acknowledgments

About the Authors
1. Introduction
The Premise of This Book

What Do We Mean by Grammar?

The History of Teaching Grammar in the United States of America

Current Standards Related to Teaching Grammar

2. Language and Metalanguage
Overview of the Terms Language and Metalanguage

A Brief History of the English Language

Internet Sites

3. Builders of Linguistic Intelligence





Internet Sites

4. Parts of Speech and the English Language
Teaching English Through the Structure of the English Language

Morphological and Non-Morphological Words

Expanding Definitions of Parts of Speech

Organizing and Naming the Verb Conjugation Forms

Verbs by Categories

The Adjective in the English Language

The Adverb in the English Language

Internet Sites

5. Syntax and Semantics
Getting Meaning

Sentences and Semantics

Internet Sites

6. The Polyglot of English
The Latin "DNA"

Terms for Understanding the Structures of Words and Parts of Words

Getting Meaning by Sorting and Clarifying

Internet Sites

7. The Polyglot: Beyond Latin and Greek
Ich Spreche Deutsch - The Germanic Connection

The French Connection - The Year 1066

Hablo Espanol - I Speak Spanish

Yiddish or Yinglish

Worlwide Contributions- African Americans, American Indians, East Indians

Contributions From China and Japan

Internet Sites

8. Return to Parts of Speech
The Small Words

Internet Sites

9. Sentences, Paragraphs, and Other Structures of the Written Language
Converting Spoken Sentences to Written Sentences

Working With Sentence Units

Finding Sentence Boundaries in Written Sentences

"Deconstructing" Sentences to Find Their Deep Structure Meaning

Subjects and Predicates

Tenses and Agreement

Verb Agreement

The Paragraph

The Grammatical Voice

Internet Sites

10. Grammar for Word Play
Making Grammar Really Fun

Internet Sites

11. Reading, Writing, and Grammar
Combining Reading With Grammar

ABC Books for Building Language and Grammar Literacy

Internet Sites

12. Punctuation, Spelling, Text Messaging, and Other Consequences of Grammar
Learning About Punctuation

Spelling and Grammar

Internet Sites

13. Additional Learning Activities
Building Sentence Power

Paragraphs and Transitions

Having Fun With Grammar and Words


"This is a totally new approach to teaching the dry topic of grammar. The author uses history, multiple content areas, and real-world viewpoints to involve students and give them every opportunity to gain a deep understanding of the topic."

Linda Irvin, Fourth-Grade Teacher
Sunflower Elementary School, Paola, KS

"This book provides teachers with the how-to for applying the theories we find tacitly agreeable but may not know how to implement in the classroom. Without an over-reliance on case studies or anecdotes, the strategies provided are adaptable to multiple levels of grammar instruction."

Tabia Lee, English and Social Studies Teacher
Belvedere Middle School, Los Angeles, CA

"This book is very interesting, important, and engaging. It is user friendly and introduces teachers at all levels (secondary English specialists as well as elementary generalists) to linguistic principles that should inform our teaching of both grammar and vocabulary."

Amy Benjamin, Educational Consultant

"Andrew and Evelyn Rothstein have given teachers a model for teaching the structure of our language with fun and interesting strategies that can be used at all grade levels. They show teachers how to take grammar instruction from a stand-alone subject to an integral part of a complete literacy program."

Kim Whitling, Fifth-Grade Inclusion Teacher
Franklinville Central School, NY

"The authors provide research-based strategies and support to move grammar instruction from diagramming sentences to constructing sentences, from rote memorization to student involvement, and from dull and boring to exciting and engaging. This text shows teachers the way English grammar instruction can really be!"

Natalie R. Scavone, New Visions Teacher
Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES, NY

"This book not only provides the how and why of grammar, it offers wonderful strategies that will motivate and encourage our school population to become truly successful in understanding and using language. With its numerous and engaging activities, this book will build student competence and confidence and raise the standards of literacy."

Diana Mann, Educational Consultant
National Urban Alliance

"A practical, delightful, creative, brilliant, and deep guide to English grammar instruction. Their love and extensive knowledge of the English language is evident on every page. They provide all the ingredients for teachers and students to experience expanded learning opportunities in all disciplines."

Marilyn Zaretsky, Director
National Urban Alliance for Effective Education

"This book is a breath of fresh air for the old, musty methods of teaching grammar. It helps students and teachers realize the practical reasons for learning grammar while understanding the history of language."

Maryanne N. Maisano, Visiting Assistant Professor
Western Carolina University

"Provides a fresh approach that offers sound pedagogy and speaks to the challenges that teachers meet in today’s classrooms. Its engaging activities will enrich students’ language abilities with systematic instruction that spans all content areas.”

Elizabeth Benefield, Principal
Resurrection Catholic School, Pascagoula, MS

"Informative, practical, and fun. The conversations around helping students build a Latin vocabulary places the reader within the context of how doing so increases reading comprehension, higher levels of writing, and a greater knowledge of the relationship between words and grammar."

Ahmes Askia, Director of Professional Development
National Urban Alliance

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1: Introduction

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