Teaching grammar through reading

Teaching grammar through reading

This year, I am experimenting with this simple reading exercise to increase my students’ knowledge in grammar.

I have always started my lessons with years 7 and 8 groups with “silent reading”. Students have been told to bring a novel of their own to read at the beginning of each of my lessons. This reading exercise quickly calm them down from change over, after break or lunch. In the past, I have given them activities to spot the use of punctuation to improve their own use of punctuation. This year, I shift my focus to grammatical terms – in a more systematic way.

Each week, I write the “Grammar Focus of the Week” on the white board. This week, my focus is Parts of Speech, with particular focus on nouns, proper nouns and verbs for Year 7; adjectives, adverbs and verbs for Year 8. If they have forgotten what they are, they can use their iPad to find out what they are again. 

When the students are reading, they use the back of their exercise books to record example of those parts of speech. 

After reading for 10 minutes, I would ask students to share results. I use this opportunity to award them reward points. 

I also build in challenge to double their points if they could identify different types of each category. For example, nouns to include concrete and abstract nouns, verbs can include dynamic and stative verbs, etc. Many of them live a challenge and extend their knowledge as a result. 

Next week, I can either change my focus or spend more time on any particular parts of speech that more consolidation is needed. 

By the end of this full term, I would like to have covered sentence, clauses, semantic field and cohesion, etc. A-Level English Language teachers will have spotted that I have used the Paper 1 Mark Scheme as guide to sequence my grammatical foci from the lower level to the higher in terms of sophistication of understanding required.

If you like the sound of it – give it a try and see how it works. I am certainly pinning my hope on it to help prepare my students to do well in their GCSE examinations. 

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About W. S. Lien

Tweed Wearer - Country Lover - Teacher Researching Professionalism and Identity@Clare College, Cambridge - Keen Amateur Photographer - Devotee to Poppy my Labrador
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