Here is one we actually have on the shelf, so it is particularly nice to see it available as a free download. The Century Handbook of Writing by Garland Greever and Easley S. Jones was originally published in 1920 to help students improve their writing skills — themselves.
By a device equally efficient, the book throws upon the student the responsibility of teaching himself. Each article begins with a concise rule, which is illustrated by examples; then follows a short “parallel exercise” which the instructor may assign by adding an x to the number he writes in the margin of a theme. While correcting this exercise, the student will give attention to the rule, and will acquire theory and practice at the same time. Moreover, every group of ten articles is followed by mixed exercises; these may be used for review, or imposed in the margin of a theme as a penalty for flagrant or repeated error. Thus friendly counsel is backed by discipline, and the instructor has the means of compelling the student to make rapid progress toward good English.
While we would NOT recommend using the exercises as a way of imposing a “penalty,” nor being overly “compelling,” the book CAN nevertheless be used to develop strong writing skills!
The book is set up to work in a way similar to one of our favorite (older and now out-of-print) resources, Learning Grammar Through Writing, in that the rules are applied per writing assignment as needed. This method has proven to be very effective when it comes to retention as the rules are pulled out to address a topic at hand when it is fresh in the mind. And this is the method we used to build writers — and highly recommend!
The front of the book contains a chart of 99 numbered areas of study — everything from fragments and references to commas and quotation marks. When correcting a work, Mom can write the number of the appropriate area to work on next to the error. The student can then reference the text and work through the appropriate exercises.
We would also suggest using this information to build a personalized grammar notebook by copying the appropriate rule with the corrected error and including a few more examples.
In this particular text, you will find some of the areas to be particularly picky. But by persevering, a student will develop an incredible attention to detail when it comes to his writing.
Here is a sampling of the items covered:
- Sentence structure.
- Subject-verb agreement.
- Much, much more.
Whether or not you decide to use the Century Handbook of Writing, there is a great deal to be pulled from the method — and a strong foundation for making you a better editor!
Learning Grammar Through Writing by Wheeler and Bell
This handy reference published by Educators Publishing Service is now out of print. But it is worth finding if you are looking for an updated alternative. When you find a mistake in your child’s writing, you can find the coordinating pithy rule with an example to have your child copy into a grammar notebook. A checklist at the back helps you keep track of the skills you have covered.
10 Ways to Use Notebooking: #5 Grammar & Spelling
Help for creating that grammar notebook!
The Century Handbook of Writing
Reputable hardback version for those interested.