If you’re a teacher, chances are you already have an idea of how difficult teaching grammar can be. Many students and teachers are insistent that traditional methods of practicing grammar are not effective. One creative and fun way to teach grammar that is known to produce great results is to teach grammar through writing.
From my years of experience teaching writing, I can tell you that writing and grammar go hand in hand. Students are much more likely to retain information about grammar when it’s learned in context, rather than from a worksheet. If students learn about the natural flow of grammar as well as specific grammar concepts from writing and reading, it will be very beneficial to their long-term grammar knowledge.
Because grammar is a difficult and debated topic in teaching, often teachers have to get a little creative when planning lessons for their students. If you don’t know where to start with teaching grammar, don’t fret! Here is your ultimate guide to teaching grammar through writing. After reading this article, you will know all about:
- Why Teaching Grammar is So Important→
- Different Methods You Can Use to Teach Grammar→
- How to Teach Grammar Through Writing→
- Activities to Help You Use Writing to Teach Grammar→
Once you know about all the ways you can incorporate grammar into your writing lessons, you will have all the tools you need to build fun and effective lessons for your students!
One of the reasons teaching grammar is such a difficult area is because it’s extremely important that it’s done correctly. If students aren’t taught the building blocks of grammar, their writing and future linguistic progress will suffer. Unfortunately, many students over the years have been taught grammar incorrectly from disengaged, uninformed teachers.
According to the 2014 English National Curriculum, “Explicit knowledge of grammar is very important, as it gives us more conscious control and choice in our language.” Students who do not have a proper grasp of grammar may struggle with control over language in their writing. However, grammar is also a subject that many students historically dislike and are resistant to learn.
Stubborn as some students may be, incorporating grammar into lessons is crucial for students’ future success. Grammar also plays a huge role in improving students’ speech. If you work on teaching grammar through writing and reading with your students, chances are you’ll notice the grammar in their speech improving too.
If you want to know a little more about common challenges teachers face while teaching grammar, check out this YouTube video!
If you’re teaching online, a camera is an essential piece of equipment for a grammar lesson.
Before we get into our ultimate guide on teaching grammar through writing, let’s take a look at some of the different methods of teaching grammar that are out there. By having an idea of the different ways how to teach grammar, you can decide what method would work best for you and your students!
1. The Traditional Method
The first method of teaching grammar we’ll be talking about today is the traditional method. For decades and even centuries, teachers have been using this method to impart grammar knowledge upon their students. Many aspects of the traditional method are still being used in schools, though most classrooms today aim to use traditional grammar exercises as supplementary learning in combination with more progressive methods.
In traditional grammar lessons, the main tools of the trade are lists, worksheets, and grammar textbooks. Traditional teaching methods utilize “memorization-based techniques that [rely] on repetition.” While this more traditional method of teaching grammar is still used in classrooms sometimes, particularly where students are learning English as a second language, more creative and interactive methods of teaching grammar are generally favored today.
2. The Model Method
One very popular way of teaching grammar outside of the traditional method is the model method. The model method, or teaching by modeling, involves showing students ‘models’ of good writing and grammar that they can observe and mimic. For students who are native English speakers, it does much more for retention to see grammar properly used within context than to simply complete a worksheet or grammar exercise.
To teach using the model method, provide your students with short stories and novels to read and tell them to look up to the authors as grammar mentors. As your students read throughout the year, either independently or as a class, they will get a sense for the way grammar works in context. If you have been working on any specific grammar concepts with your class, have them write down examples they notice from their reading in a notebook, which you can then go over in class. Of course, sometimes authors break grammar conventions for artistic purposes, so if that crops up it’s a good opportunity to teach your class about where and when grammar rules can be broken.
3. Teaching in Context
For students who are too young to read texts for the model method, teachers can get a similar effect by teaching in context. Teaching in context involves showing students short examples, either verbal or written, to illustrate grammar concepts. Ideally, teachers should want these examples to tell a story and be interesting and engaging for students. This one is a creative spin on traditional grammar exercises, allowing students to learn through fun paragraphs and stories as opposed to exercises that many students find boring.
4. Selective Grammar Review
Another method of teaching grammar that is increasingly common in classrooms is selective grammar review. Especially with younger students, there are often too many grammar concepts to go over in one school year. For students who are native English speakers, it is more important to make sure they have a general feel for the way grammar works through spoken and written speech, then address grammar terminology later.
According to literacy specialists, teachers find that they have to “temporarily ignore certain mistakes in order to intentionally focus on a single teaching point.” This means that rather than trying to tackle every little grammar mistake your students make in their writing and speech, you should choose specific concepts to focus on that are both age-appropriate and related to their demonstrated grammar struggles.
Some teachers like to incorporate document cameras into their grammar lessons.
Also, my colleagues have made a podcast about teaching Grammar. You can listen to it following the link below.
How to teach grammar through reading and writing workshop. https://t.co/01o3GHUMbh
— Ashley Hubner, M. Ed. (@ashley_hubner) July 20, 2018
While the methods of teaching grammar described above have their own merits and uses for the everyday classroom, one of the best methods by far for teaching grammar is to teach through writing. By teaching grammar through writing, we give our students the time and space to experience language in their own way, rather than rushing their understanding of grammar concepts through traditional exercises.
Teaching grammar through writing is so effective because students have to make their own choices and apply grammar concepts in a way that demonstrates they understand them in context. Most students who are native English speakers will be able to tell if something they’re writing is grammatically incorrect, as it won’t have the right ‘flow’ when read or spoken aloud. If you give your students the tools to correct their own grammar and make creative decisions, they will be empowered to work independently and improve their grammar over time.
If you want to learn even more about teaching grammar through writing, check out the YouTube video above!
While teaching grammar through writing is the most effective way to teach, it can also be challenging to come up with fun exercises to do with your students. Here are a couple of great activities how to teach grammar through writing and get amazing results!
1. Proofreading Lists
One fantastic way of teaching grammar through writing is by using a proofreading list. A proofreading list is a log of all the grammatical concepts you and your students have gone over. To make a proofreading list, come up with a list of grammar checks you want your students to perform before handing in a draft of writing to you, then print out and laminate the documents for your students.
Students will use proofreading lists to check grammar concepts on their own, rather than needing to ask the teacher if they need a quick reminder. Students retain information better if they’ve had a chance to recognize and apply a rule on their own first!
2. Writing Poetry
Another way your class can learn grammar through writing is by writing poetry! That’s right, poetry is a great way to get your students feeling creative while learning about grammar. To teach grammar through writing poetry, present your students with a list of grammar concepts or types of phrases you want them to include in their poems(If you have difficulties with writting a poem, read this).Then, have your students harness their creativity and write poetry about any topic your heart desires. With this strategy, you give your students an opportunity to be creative while also demonstrating that they can apply grammar concepts.
3. How-To Writing
For younger students who aren’t ready to be writing short stories and poetry yet, how-to writing is the way to go! Have your students write a “how-to” guide for something (making a pizza, washing your hands, cleaning your room) and work with them on any grammatical concepts they are confused about as they crop up. How-to guides and instructions often have many different sentence structures and standard grammar rules involved, so they’re a great opportunity for your students to get an idea for how language works!
If you’re teaching grammar online and want to know more about online-specific strategies to help you teach, take a look at this YouTube video!
An interactive whiteboard is a useful piece of equipment for keeping students engaged during grammar lessons.
Wrapping it Up
Teaching grammar can be a struggle, but this ultimate guide to teaching grammar through writing should help you out with knowing where to start. Now is the time to ditch those pesky traditional methods of teaching grammar that involved boring worksheets and memorization. By teaching grammar through writing, you will be providing your students with what they need to retain and apply the topics.
If you’re trying to plan fun and creative grammar lessons for your class, try teaching grammar through writing to watch how much your students can grow!
- 14 Science Experiments for Middle School — Unlock the Wonders of The World in Your Classroom - February 18, 2023
- Top 11 Sound and Voice Amplifier Apps: Enhance Audio on Your Device with the Best Volume Boosters - January 26, 2023
- 7 Creative Valentine’s Day Poster Ideas to Make Your Space Feel More Festive - January 11, 2023