Great writers, over the centuries, have been masters of their arts through the use of rich and vivid imagery combined with carefully chosen language. Readers are drawn into stories and are captivated by the seamless connection of words. I have come to recognize the needs of young people in developing mastery over the written word. Explicit instruction in grammar along with practical application in writing allows children to grow into confident, efficient, and effective writers.
This year our first through fifth grade students will learn grammar through the use of First Language Lessons. This curricular approach utilizes four strands of learning:
- Memory work-through the recitation of great poetry.
- Copying and dictation-to develop the muscle memory of excellent writing.
- Narration- Retelling of stories requires orderly thinking and builds comprehension.
- Explicit grammar- Develops the structure of English language.
Explicit instruction in grammar is similar to the practice of almost any sport. If we are serious about the sport our child plays, we enlist a coach who will teach our child the rules of the game, practice fundamental skills over and over, while infusing their practices with a love of the sport. Good coaches, like good teachers, know how to intermingle those muscle-memory exercises with actual scrimmages that lead to the joy of the game. First Language Lessons is a tool for the teacher to do just that. It is strong in the fundamentals and yet full of beautiful language to practice and imitate.
Watch for next blog in which I will address English grammar in Junior High.