English grammar is often a sticky subject. Even as adults, it’s hard to get your head around all the complex rules and conditions of the English language.
And if you’re still struggling with the various verb tenses, how are you going to teach your kids about grammar?
This guide is as much for you as it is for them. We’ll dive into what grammar is, how to teach grammar effectively, and what resources you need for elementary-level grammar classes.
What is grammar?
Grammar is a broad umbrella term for a language’s set of rules. It encompasses everything from verb tenses and sentence structure to punctuation and word classification.
Importantly, grammar is often mistakenly used to describe punctuation — things like periods, exclamation marks, and semicolons. With misunderstandings like this so commonplace, it’s hardly surprising that the topic is a little overwhelming to teach!
But with the right resources, you can make learning (and teaching) grammar a lot less painful.
There are plenty of fun games you can play to help your students wrap their heads around grammar, as well as worksheets on every topic that’ll make studying so much easier.
Put simply: grammar lessons don’t have to be complex or boring, we promise!
How to teach grammar to elementary students
There’s a right and a not-so-right way to teach grammar effectively. Here’s what you need to do:
Break down the subject into bite-sized chunks
You can’t just sit down and learn grammar in one afternoon. It’s a huge subject that needs to be slowly chipped away at over time. Because it’s got so many components, breaking the subject down into short lessons will help. By focusing on a different thing each day, it shouldn’t feel too confusing (to teach or learn!).
For example, within a topic such as “verb tenses”, you’ve got subtopics like past, present, future, and conditional. Be sure to spend time on each one before moving onto the next.
Make a mini curriculum to ensure you’re tackling everything in the right order
Once you’ve broken the subject down into smaller categories, you can then determine the order in which they should be taught. It’s most logical to start with the easy, foundation work — like plurals — before moving onto more complex topics like the conditional tense.
Worksheets and activities will help you along the way. Here are some of our favorite grammar worksheets, to help you plan your lessons. We’ve listed them in an ideal teaching order; one that will make sure you’re building on knowledge, and not diving into the deep end too soon.
- Parts of speech (word categorization)
- Verbs and tenses (past, present, and future)
- Subject-verb agreement
- Subjects and objects
- Sentence structure
- Compound sentences
- Their, They’re, and There
- Figurative Language (e.g. metaphors)
Use real-world examples
Trying to explain grammar can get overwhelming pretty quickly. It all sounds a bit theoretical and ambiguous until you start explaining things in a way that’s relevant to your child’s daily life.
For example, by calling a verb a doing word, an adjective a describing word, and a noun a person, place, or thing it’ll help your little one to really understand the difference between the three.
Furthermore, rather than just giving them textbook examples to display grammar, show them material from the “real world”. Use their favorite book or even a local newspaper — it’ll help them understand that grammar is important outside the classroom, too.
Create a grammar bible
Rote learning may be a little old school, but it’s still super effective. So get your student a small notebook, and have them write down every grammatical lesson they learn.
The English language has a lot of rules (and not all of them make sense at first!). Writing each rule out into a handbook will allow your kid to wrap their head around them all. It’ll also be helpful to have it handy in future lessons.
Keep it interactive
Games and hands-on tasks are one of the best ways to make sure your student is engaged and actually learning. And once you’ve laid out the grammar basics, you can mix up your lessons a little bit.
Many of the worksheets that we’ve listed above contain fun activities to do together, or you can find plenty of grammar-based games online.
Here’s a tutorial for making your own game about parts of speech using popsicle sticks. Or you could make a Go Fish game out of index cards — played just like the original, but instead of fishing for numbers, your students can ask “do you have a verb”?
Bingo is also a fun game you can play and is easy to adapt to all skill levels. Make a bingo card filled with different words, which your child can cross off as you call different categories, e.g. adjective, verb, pronoun.
Use their voices
While it’s all well and good to understand the rules of grammar on paper, it’s important for your child to understand how they also apply to spoken English.
Ask them to write dialogues they’ll then read aloud, incorporating the rules they’ve learned. Or rather than completing “fill in the blank” worksheets by hand, ask them to do it out loud instead.
This will help them comprehend the language rules on an even deeper level, and understand the importance of grammar in everyday speech.
Solidify their learnings
The best way to make sure that your little one is truly grasping the concept of grammar is to really immerse them in the English language. Outside of your lessons, the more you read aloud with your children — or get them to read — the more exposure they have to grammar and its rules.
If they’re up to it, you can even get them to identify the rules that they’ve learned within the books you’re reading.
Use as many resources as you can
Straightforward textbook lessons can get boring really quickly, especially when teaching dense subjects like grammar. Be sure to spice things up to keep your student’s attention — make the most of worksheets to keep lessons varied.
This will also help you to ensure you’re covering off all the necessary points within a topic.
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Link will appear as How to Teach Grammar – Tips for Homeschooling Parents + 14 Grammar Worksheets to Make Studying a Breeze: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, April 23, 2020