Reading, Writing, and Grammar: They’re ALL Important

For those of you who think Common Core isn’t affecting students, here you go. I have actually heard highly respected educators say that because the new standardized test isn’t focusing on grammar, then we as teachers don’t need to focus on it as much. It’s that “just do enough to get by” perspective. But, here is a different perspective. This woman took a stand. A big stand. And thank goodness there are teachers out there like her. Below are her words. She says so much throughout her blog that I’ve said before. I believe she and I would be fast friends if we were to meet.

I teach students how to write and how to write well. Grammar is the foundation of my instruction; I love teaching the logic and beauty of the written word. Not only do we analyze sentences for writing instruction, but we discuss authors’ grammatical choices to infuse deeper meaning into their writing. For example, in Oscar Wilde’s  The Picture of Dorian Gray, the sentence “He was brilliant, fantastic, irresponsible” breaks the item-in-a-series grammar rule. Without a conjunction, the three adjectives have equal weight. The man can be all three at once, which adds to the subject’s intrigue. Grammar instruction at this level teaches students that grammar rules can be broken, purposefully, adding depth to their writing.

It truly amazes me that I work with many English teachers who cannot see the connection between grammar knowledge and writing well; therefore, they refuse to teach grammar. If one stops with the parts of speech, the art of communication can never be explored. However, delving into the essence of thought–the two-part structure of subject and predicate–now that creates expert communicators. Yet, students have graduated from high school without knowing what those two things are. Their English teachers have done them a disservice. Who else but an English teacher can teach the beauty and importance of grammar?

I think we’ve all seen the consequence of that kind of thinking: T-shirts being manufactured with “Your the best!” printed on them; journalists confusing it’s and its; news anchors saying that the losers of a contest will receive “a nice constellation prize.” Our country has become functionally illiterate at increasingly higher levels.

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