How to Teach Grammar

Grammar is not the most exciting subject in the world, but it is important. Many job applications and cover letters are passed over because the applicant did not use proper grammar. Grammar used to be taught using a language book, learning about parts of speech and doing language exercises such as diagramming sentences. Now grammar is usually taught with writing, and it is taught through mini-lessons. It may also be taught in literature circles when teachers discuss with students how an author writes or a character's speech pattern. When you teach grammar with these methods, students are more likely to remember the grammar rules and apply them to their everyday life.

Things You'll Need

  • Literature books
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Spelling words (optional)


    • 1

      Assess your students before you teach any grammar. If they already know what a noun and verb is, then you don't need to waste class time teaching them and doing exercises where everyone is getting 100 percent. The important thing about nouns, for example, are rules such as each sentence needs a subject, capitalizing proper nouns making sure nouns and verbs agree. What are your objectives in grammar for your grade level, and where are your students in regards to these objectives?

    • 2

      Plan mini-lessons to address your students' deficiencies with grammar. If your students can't remember to always capitalize the word "I" (such as a first grade class), then before writing workshop one day, gather the students around your chart paper and do a lesson on capitalizing the word "I." Students can practice this skill by writing a personal narrative where they use the word, I, and immediately, they incorporate the lesson into their everyday writing. Mini-lessons can be taught on any subject. Skills can be practiced in writing. It just takes a little planning on your part.

    • 3

      Teach grammar points while you are also discussing books you are reading to the class or that students are reading themselves. Real authors can be amazing tools to use to teach about contractions, noun/verb agreement and all other grammar points you may need to teach. There are even picture books that focus on certain parts of speech or punctuation. Ask your local or school librarian to help you find these books if you want to share them with your class. Show students how real-live authors use grammar in their writing, so students will also use correct grammar and punctuation in their writing. Point out if a character has a weird speech pattern and discuss it. Discuss why that character might not be using proper grammar. These discussions will be more meaningful than doing language exercises.

    • 4

      Practice punctuation, proper grammar, and capitalization with spelling sentences. Teachers often assign students to write spelling sentences, using a spelling word correctly in each sentence. What have your mini-lessons been focusing on? Ask students to practice these skills with spelling sentences. These sentences are also a good assessment when you teach grammar. They will show you if students are applying the grammar rules they are learning, or if students need more instruction and practice.

Tips & Warnings

  • Check your school's curriculum. You don't have to teach everything in the grammar book to each grade level. You just have to follow the curriculum and meet the needs of your students.
  • Don't make grammar boring. If you approach it with dislike and boredom, so will your students. Incorporate grammar rules and lessons into other subjects to make it more interesting and fun!
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