Tuesday, July 4, 2017

English Grammar Early

I was cleaning out old books and I ran across a 6th grade workbook with this note on the cover: "Save. Some material here not in college handbooks."  Education is cumulative and it so happens in America that the time English grammar is taught is the early years.  I remember from my youth that the last big push to teach grammar was in 5th or 6th grade.  When I was sent off to middle school the English curriculum changed to literature.  Grammar is not taught in high school or college, you are simply marked down for poor grammar.

The 6th grade workbook I used with my son had sections on "helping verbs" and "linking verbs" and college handbooks say very little about helping verbs and linking verbs. 

The best college writer's handbook, in my opinion, is The Hodges Harbrace Handbook, created by John C. Hodges in 1941, now in its eighteenth edition. It is one of the most widely used grammar reference books at colleges and universities in the United States.  I have compared it to other well liked handbooks and I do prefer The Hodges Harbrace Handbook, but it does have very little in it about helping verbs and linking verbs.  So if you have not learned about them in elementary school, you won't learn about them in college.  From a University of Tennessee website we have this insight on why Hodges Harbrace Handbook has been so successful:  Dr. John Hodges studied the frequency of errors in college students’ essays. He collected 20,000 student-penned papers, counted and analyzed the errors in those papers, and created the taxonomy he used to organize the original Harbrace Handbook of English.  The English professor used a scientific approach to analyze the problem!

The 6th grade English grammar workbook that I used with my son was Spectrum Language Arts, Grade 6.  I have mentioned it before.  Here is a snapshot of the table of contents.  Notice the workbook has a section on transitive verbs, but not one on intransitive verbs. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)
I worked with my son on English Grammar during grades 4, 5, and 6.  Grade 7 was a big push into mastering word problems in math, then 8th grade was all about mastering Algebra, the gateway to high income professions.

The 4th grade English grammar workbook that I used with my son was Brighter Child English & Grammar for Grade 4.  The table of contents is below.  Notice that the 4th grade workbook does have a section on intransitive verbs.
Using grammar workbooks with your children in 4th, 5th, and 6th grades can be an invaluable help to your children.  You put your child's education at risk if you rely too much on the Plano ISD and its teachers to teach grammar to your children.  Do not let these years slip by,  they won't come back again!