Monday, September 16, 2013

A Picture Book Look at Grammar

{This post contains my Amazon affiliate links.}

Someone asked me when we begin formal grammar instruction for our kids.  I had to think about it for a moment because...confession...this is our 7th week of our 7th year of homeschooling and I'm not sure we've ever begun formal grammar instruction. 

I'm a believer in organic learning-- learning that occurs naturally in everyday situations.  Rather than focus on teaching grammar, I hope that my children will learn correct punctuation and sentence structure by reading, writing, and listening. 

{Okay.  Another confession.  I thought we'd approach spelling the same way and so far, it's working for two of my children.  A third child, though, is such a struggling speller that we've begun to work more intensely in that area with writing and dictation exercises.  Still trying to keep that organic vibe going, learning as naturally as possible.} 

One of the most most effective ways my kids have learned parts of speech is through those silly books of Mad Libs.  One year at Christmastime, we kept a book of holiday Mad Libs at the dining room table.  Two or three nights a week after dinner, we would fill out and read aloud one page.  When Owen was only 5 years old if someone asked, "What's a noun?" he could instantly reply, "Person, place, or thing."  Or if someone said, "What's an verb?" he would spit out, "Action word!" 

More recently we found a series of fun grammar picture books at our local library called Words Are Categorical by Brian Cleary.  In our house, where we read all the time, nothing is more natural than enjoying a book.  Though the topic sounds dull, these books are anything but! The author has written a book for almost any part of speech you can think of.  Each book is written in poem form and is chock full of crazy illustrations, too.  There are books about the basic parts of speech like A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink: What is a Noun? and Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: What Is an Adjective?.

There are also books featuring more complicated parts of speech like How Much Can a Bare Bear Bear?: What Are Homonyms and Homophones? and Stop and Go, Yes and No: What Is an Antonym?.

The Words Are Categorical series was simplistic enough for my almost 5-year-old to enjoy, but zany enough to hold my almost 11-year-old's attention, too. 

We've shared some laughs over another series of grammar picture book, this one by Lynne Truss.  Twenty-Odd Ducks: Why, every punctuation mark counts!, The Girl's Like Spaghetti: Why, You Can't Manage without Apostrophes!, and Eats, Shoots & Leaves: Why, Commas Really Do Make a Difference!  are the kind of books to read out loud once with your kids and then have them read themselves to absorb it all slowly.  Because a large portion of these books involves word play and observation, I've only used them with my older children (4th grade and above). 

How about you?  Do you give your children formal grammar instruction?  Is there something my kids might miss out on if I don't take a more structured approach? 

{This post contains my Amazon affiliate links.}

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...