English Grammar Through Short Stories

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Many students find learning grammar an uphill battle. As a teacher, you can spice up your grammar lesson and beat boredom with a short story. There is an endless number of short-story options to choose from, including dramatic classics or modern comedies. Incorporate a grammar lesson while giving students something interesting to read. Use a short story to reinforce any grammar lesson, from comma use to capitalization.

Editor

  • Use this grammar exercise for any grade level. Ask your students to become editors for this exercise. Choose a short story and change words or punctuation in the story to incorrect grammar. You could change only a certain part of speech, such as helping verbs, to reinforce what students are learning in class. Give your students the short story to read and correct. See how many of the errors they recognized in the story. You could also delete necessary punctuation in the story and ask students to add the punctuation where it is needed. For example, dialogue in a short story provides an opportunity for students to practice putting in quotation marks correctly.

Peer Review

  • Try this exercise in middle school or high school. Ask students to write their own short story. To narrow the focus, you could ask them to include a certain part of speech, such as prepositional phrases. When they complete the stories, have them choose a partner and swap stories. They can then correct their partner's story. Go around the classroom to address disagreements about the correct grammar. Ask the students to rewrite the stories incorporating the corrections.

Parts of Speech

  • Use this exercise in middle school or high school after students have been taught each part of speech in a sentence. Choose a short story that has four or five paragraphs. Number each sentence in the short story. Go around the room and assign each student a sentence. The students have to label each word in their sentence with a part of speech, such as "proper noun" or "conjunction." Check the students' sentences. You can also assign two students to one sentence and have them work together or check their answers.

Short Story Completion

  • Use this exercise in any grade level. Give students the beginning of a short story. Choose a suspense or mystery short story for a quick plot that needs to be resolved. Ask students to complete the story using a certain number of a part of speech. For example, you could ask them to include three prepositional phrases, three gerunds, six articles and five verbs in the present perfect tense. For elementary students, choose one or two criteria for the rest of the story, such as "six proper nouns" or "seven past tense verbs."

References

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