Basic Grammar in Elementary School Settings: Annotated Bibliography

Strickland, Ruth G. The Language Arts in the Elementary School. Boston: D.C. Heath, 1957. Print.

Dr Ruth Strickland outlines in great detail that as a child grows he learns to communicate through spoken and written language. This type of communication is directly reserved for man and enables us to become thinkers and achieve greatness in the abundance of knowledge and success. It is imperative in life that each child learns and uses the structured tools and forms of communication that is made available to him.

Basic Grammar is a skill that is introduced and sharpened throughout a child’s elementary career. This skill is first introduced as a meek lesson. The skill of basic grammar is refined throughout their adolescence to influence vocation, peer and social clout, and as well as the pattern of personal living he builds for himself.

Basic grammar and language development are in conjunction with many aspects of a child’s growth. To learn a language, a child must possess the basic equipment for the mission. The child must be able to see, hear, feel, move, understand, make associations, coordinate his activities, and adjust to the people and things in his environment if he is to achieve language and to do so at a normal rate. However, learning a language and developing language in various forms is one of the most difficult tasks a child has to perform.

The book authored by Ruth Strickland has taught me a great deal about learning and understanding even the beginning language and means of communication as a child. Many adults think that because you are an English speaking American that you are a better speaker and you know basic grammar and language. This pre-misconception couldn’t be farther from the truth. Many Americans including myself are ignorant of the correct use of the American Language and Basic Grammar Guidelines until we have been properly educated and blessed with the knowledge.

U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Entering Kindergarten: A Portrait of American Children When They Begin School: Findings from The Condition of Education 2000, Nicholas Zill and Jerry West, NCES 2001–035, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2001.

The US Department of Education has supplied in great detail the findings of the levels of education and academic skills associated with children entering elementary school (kindergarten). In kindergarten basic grammar/reading is taught as a rudimentary skill. These rudimentary skills serve as a stepping stone towards the mastery of the more advanced and complex skills. For reading and grammar, these rudimentary skills include familiarization with the conventions of print; such as the English language convention of reading from left to right and from top to bottom, learning to recognize letters by name; associating sounds with letters or letter combinations; and understanding the meaning of many spoken words and phrases.

The crucial rudimentary skills that are so very important for the development of each child are not a requirement for admission into kindergarten. There are currently no known true statistics as to how many children actually acquire the skill prior to kindergarten, many young children have learned some of these skills before entering school from interacting with their parents and siblings. Most kindergarten teachers feel that knowing letters is not crucial for school readiness, because they can and do teach children these skills in kindergarten. Developmental research indicates that children who have mastered these skills in the preschool years are more likely to learn to read and write more proficiently than those who have not.

One question that I have is, is whether explicitly teaching these skills in preschool boosts children’s literacy and grammar potential later in life. I personally believe this to be the case, but there is currently no evidence to substantiate this theory. Odlin, Terence. Perspectives on Pedagogical Grammar. Cambridge Linguistics, 1994. Print

Perspectives on Pedagogical Grammar brings together authorities from around the world who write about theory and research in pedagogical grammar. English is a primary language throughout the world and many other educators have come together to learn various language boundaries and a way to help young children of any culture overcome this obstacle.

The first section addresses grammatical analysis, covering Chomskyan Universal Grammar and a number of alternative models. A series of models have been developed to help understand the more efficient ways to teach and learn the English language and grammar. Each model teaches and tests differently to bring about a diverse aspect and to see if culture is a debilitating factor.
The second section shows how lexicon and discourse rules interact with and influence the grammatical system. This section helps to draw out and understand how the specific culture will influence the learning system and enables the educators to better understand the influence in the various cultures.
A final section deals directly with applications, outlining effective methods of teaching grammar in different areas of the language curriculum. Each student is perform a set of tasks and apply the various curriculum to demonstrate understanding and to help the educator learn and understand the factors associated that he will need to better teach the adolescent.

I found this piece of literature quite interesting. I had never given much thought of how controversial the English language was on a global scale. It was very interesting to read how young children of various countries learn multiple languages before their 1st year in elementary school, and the obstacles surrounding it. Susan Sanchez, “Breakthrough to Literacy.” August 26, 2008 Web.20 Apr 2009. .

Breakthrough to literacy by Susan Sanchez documents ways in which teachers face their prejudices about grammar. It encourages them to consider diverse, innovative techniques for teaching grammar that go beyond the sentence to discourse. It emphasizes that understanding language requires understanding the context of its use. Susan Sanchez illustrates ways and ideas that refresh, invigorate, and encourage further exploration.

Many teachers give up on new ways to teach children the English Language and Grammar techniques. Breakthrough to Literacy helps teachers to overcome their own barriers and teaches them ways to breakthrough complicated and diverse barriers.

In today’s classroom there are many more technological breakthroughs, although this seems like it would help with learning and teaching children with innovative ways of learning, at times it becomes a hindrance when educators rely on technology to teach and forget the basic of grammar and reading. Breakthrough to Literacy brings you back to the basics.

“Jacob Mey Pragmatics: An Introduction.” Linguistics: an interdisciplinary journal of the languagesciences. Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG. 2003.
Pragmatics, second edition by Jacob Mey is a thorough, authorative and solid introduction to societal pragmatics. The author’s laudable concern with language use and the importance of the context of utterance in the determination of non-solely-semantic aspects of meaning is to be applauded. Mey’s main merit is not only to have guided students to the understanding of key concepts in the pragmatics of language, but also to have made them find their way into pragmatics by letting them think of the problems and grapple with an extraordinary amount of examples that involve societal considerations. The book’s importance lies in having laid bare to us a perspective on pragmatics that is utterly coherent and has special links with societal phenomena.
General and computational pragmatics is the branch of linguistics that studies the relations between linguistic phenomena and aspects of the context of language use. The book deals with key notions in the pragmatics of language, such as “use” and “intentions” and deals to some extent with the semantics/pragmatics debate, a recent and controversial issue. Mey’s approach is classical, it favors complementarism; in this view, semantics and pragmatics have to work in tandem to bring to light important phenomena of linguistic conventions and of language use. The author is aware that full propositional forms have to be built up by some amount of pragmatic intrusion, as he makes clear in his sections on deixis and anaphora.

To understand these relations is of crucial importance in many areas of theoretical, computational, and applied linguistics. In theoretical linguistics, the analysis of such phenomena as anaphora, deixis, and tense requires taking properties into account of the context in which expressions exhibiting these phenomena can be used.

Although this book is quite advanced I felt it could not be left out due to the knowledge that I obtained from just reading through it and understanding pragmatics.

“GRAMMAR SCHOOLS: the great debate; EVENING MAIL SPECIAL ON THE EDUCATION ISSUE THAT HAS SWAMPED OUR POSTBAG.” Birmingham Evening Mail (England). 1999. HighBeam Research. 3 May. 2009 .

English teachers, who gathered recently for a professional development session on grammar instruction, learned about “teaching the new grammar,” a concept that calls for integrating grammar with reading and writing exercises. Other factors fueling this renewed interest in grammar include parents’ concerns that writing standards have been slipping over the years, and that the Maryland High School Assessment English exam and the new SAT test each have grammar components. “Researchers said that students who studied traditional grammar in an isolated way –learning parts of speech and filling in the blanks with the right word – didn’t write any better than people who didn’t study grammar, “ said the author of Understanding English Grammar, a textbook in its sixth printing.

I think this is a very good concept of learning and understanding. Today our children and even adults need to understand the importance and the effectiveness of proper grammar.Swartout-Corbeil, Deanna. “Early Childhood Education.” Gale Encyclopedia of Children’s Health: Infancy through Adolescence. Thomson Gale. 2006. HighBeam Research. 1 May. 2009 .

Since the early 1990s, many states have developed options for children from middle- and upper-income families for receiving free preschool education. Georgia introduced the first statewide universal pre-K program, offering free early childhood education to all four-year-old children. New York and Oklahoma have also developed universal pre-K programs, and Florida voters have approved a constitutional amendment for a free pre-school program to be available for all four-year-olds by 2005.

Early childhood education can produce significant gains in children’s learning and development. High quality early childhood education assists many at-risk children in avoiding poor outcomes, such as dropping out of school at a later age. Although the benefits seem to cross all economic and social lines, the most significant gains are almost always noted among children from families with the lowest income levels and the least amount of formal education. In high-quality preschool programs, observers should see children learning the letters of the alphabet, learning to hear the individual sounds in words, learning new words and how to use them, learning early writing skills, learning about written language by looking at books and by listening to stories, and becoming familiar with math and science.

Children are prone to learning and the earlier they begin to read and understand the English language the better chance they have with continuing their education and becoming better students. Children begin learning at such a young age, Why don’t we take advantage of this knowledge and plant that seed into our children?

ROSALIND ROSSI. “Kids return to basics of grammar.” Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago Sun Times. 1999. HighBeam Research. 1 May. 2009 .

In 1999, employers view grammar and spelling as the biggest weaknesses of high school graduates in the workplace.

Grammar – a dreaded subject for decades – is making a comeback in some Chicago area schools. Many schools stopped formal grammar instruction – such as identifying parts of speech – Grammar lessons vanished from public schools in the 1970s, supplanted by a more holistic view of English instruction. A generation of teachers and students learned grammar through the act of writing, not in isolated drills and diagrams. For over 15 years grammar in the classroom barely existed. Since mid 1990’s, Daily Oral Language has hit the market, offering a 10-minute daily review of grammar, punctuation, spelling and other mechanical errors. DOL gives teachers sentences with different writing errors to put on their blackboards each day. Students identify the errors and discuss them. DOL and its latest version, DOL-Plus, are now common across the Chicago area, where sales in the late 1990’s hit their highest level in three years, said Liz DiBenedetto, product specialist for Great Source Education, the publisher of DOL.

Many teachers are using grammar books as reference tools and to teach grammar and writing rules as they need more surfaces. Teachers are looking more towards “teachable moments,” when a student repeats an error; this is when a grammar lesson will stick the best. Teachers are also discussing student examples of a class wide problem and have students correct just that error in their own writing – which is a crucial final step.

I too remember Grammar-English being a very limited subject in High School. This still being a very weak subject for me, I try to challenge myself in order to build from this weakness and make it more of a strength. Daniel de Vise – Washington Post Staff Writer. “Clauses and Commas Make a Comeback; SAT Helps Return Grammar to Class.” The Washington Post. Washington Post Newsweek Interactive Co. 2006. HighBeam Research. 2 May. 2009 .

Mike Greiner teaches grammar to high school sophomores in half- hour lessons, inserted between Shakespeare and Italian sonnets. He is an old-school grammarian, one of a defiant few in the Washington region who believe in spending large blocks of class time teaching how sentences are built.
From the 1970’s to the late 1990’s Greiner was ostracized for his views on or it least told to keep them to himself. Today Greiner is encouraged and even sought out.

In 2005, the addition of a writing section to the SAT college entrance exam — have reawakened interest in Greiner’s methods. Nationwide, the Class of 2006 posted the lowest verbal SAT scores since 1996. That was the year the test was recalibrated to correct for a half-century decline in verbal performance. Gaston Caperton, the College Board president, has lamented the scarcity of grammar and composition course work in public schools. In surveys, not quite two-thirds of students said they had studied grammar by the time they took the 2005 SAT.
A growing consensus among scholars that many high school graduates can’t write well enough to get a passing grade from a professor on a paper, drove the addition of a third section to the SAT, upending decades of balance between reading and math.

The National Council of Teachers of English, whose directives shape curriculum decisions nationwide, has quietly reversed its long opposition to grammar drills, which the group had condemned in 1985 as “a deterrent to the improvement of students’ speaking and writing.” Morton, Cathy J. “Writing in the Elementary Classroom: a Reconsideration” Childhood Education. Association for Childhood Education International. 2002.

Elementary teachers (even preschool and kindergarten teachers) who already understand the basics of teaching writing but want to deal with some of the nitty-gritty issues and difficulties they have encountered will find this book very useful. The only difficulty in applying many of the suggestions directly in a classroom would be that some of the picture books and novels used as examples are not published in the United States and might be difficult to track down. Overall, however, the clear explanations and examples make this book very practical.

Part I, one author focuses on helping preschoolers explore writing, including information about how to set up the learning environment, the importance of the child’s own name, and the teacher’s and parents’ roles. Another author illustrates the use of nursery rhymes, jingles, songs, and poems as a framework for children’s beginning writing. This informative section also includes suggestions for helping children read and write by using letter-onset / rime analogies, and for encouraging bilingual children’s writing.

Part II highlights writing as a response to literature and poetry, including several question frameworks that lead children into being meaning makers as they analyze what they write about. Also discussed are topics such as using picture books as models for writing, learning how computers can enhance the writing process, and understanding how gender influences how children’s reading shapes their writing.

Part III uses writing frames to develop nonfiction writing, helping young children learn how to take notes from nonfiction, and learning how to write from notes and graphic organizers are addressed in a very practical, user-friendly way in Part III.

Part IV provides insight into why punctuation is difficult for children to understand and suggests ways to teach punctuation from a child’s perspective. Methods of teaching spelling and grammar that are understandable to children also are included in this last section.