If you spend any time on this site at all, you know we strongly advocate the natural way of walking our children through language arts. Spending each successive year drilling grammar will not make a good writer. Good writers write. With a successful track record in writing, your student will be ready for a good grammar book to help him understand how the words he is using work together in an sentence. When that time comes, you may find this free English grammar and composition book helpful!
English Grammar and Composition by George Henry Armstrong teaches through example:
The plan of the work is inductive and practical, and the author has endeavored to make the book a useful one for the purposes of teaching. Every principle is presented through the observation of examples of good English.
The book covers typical grammar topics:
- Sentence construction.
- Parts of speech.
- Sentence analysis.
- Word use.
- Figurative language.
- Types of writing.
Those who prefer sentence diagramming to analysis will need to add a diagramming review (see resources below).
The author lamented the methods of teaching composition in his day, where students were required to finish a partially completed sentence, or correct a “wreck of a sentence,” or extend a simple sentence into a complex sentence, etc. Instead he advocates:
The art of expression is acquired through steady practice, therefore pupils should write compositions not once a week, but during part of every period, about things which they understand. They should be taught good form in expression, and trained to correct their own exercises.
Sounds like writing every day!
For almost a century now, researchers have explored the question, Does grammar knowledge help produce good writers and speakers? And recent surveys of all the research have uncovered startling results.
While educational research usually is equivocal and you can find studies to support both sides of almost any question, that is not the case with this research. On the question of relationship of grammar knowledge to writing ability, the research is clear and overwhelming on one side of the issue. This is the finding:
Knowledge of the definitions and rules of grammar does not, in itself, improve student writing….
Where, then, does grammar fit in? Not before the writing. Not as a way to learn to write. Reverse this order; have your children write as a way to learn grammar.
If a child has worked through language arts using natural methods, then he should be able to jump right into this grammar book with no problems. At that point we used Rod and Staff English 6, which does include diagramming. However, English Grammar & Composition makes a great alternative for the price — free!
- As you work through the book, have your student create a grammar notebook. See helps below.
- Have your student find his own example sentences in a book written by his favorite author.
- Have your student diagram the sentences in the sentence analysis section.
10 Ways to Use Notebooking: #5 Grammar & Spelling
Ways to keep a grammar notebook along with helpful resources.
Simple helps for those who wish to add diagramming.
Language Arts the Natural Way
Our series on how to teach grammar and composition.
16 Tips: Building a Better Writer
More help to get your students writing!