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Citation: Angelillo, Janet. (2008). Grammar Study: Helping Students Get What Grammar Is and How It Works. New York, NY: Scholastic.


Title: Grammar Study: Helping Students Get What Grammar Is and How It Works
ISBN:
ISBN-13:
Edition:
Year: 2008
Publisher: Scholastic
City: New York, NY
Medium: Book
Author(s): Angelillo, Janet
Grades: Third Grade to Seventh Grade
Categories: Teaching Grammar
Annotation: Janet Angelillo describes some former teachers who were “impatient, expected instant perfection, or were grammar snobs” (p.31). Janet has a totally different and more inviting way to approach grammar in school. She demonstrates how to map out a path for grammar instruction for the entire school year, beginning by evaluating students’ strengths and needs from a first writing sample and then following up with individual writing conferences. After writing workshop is launched, she and her students embark upon a unit of study to create a curiosity and a love of studying language as they search for words and sentences in literature. Rather than teaching grammar in isolation, Janet infuses grammar study into every other unit throughout the year. She uses a constructivist approach in which students scrutinize mentor texts and draw their own conclusions about the rules of grammar. At that point, she names the constructs that they have discovered on their own (such as prepositional phrases).

Many of us believe that grammar is governed by very strict rules but this book will definitely change your impression and maybe even surprise you. She demonstrates that if students “write with strict adherence to ‘the rules’ of formal grammar,” the result is writing that is “institutional gray” (pg. 44). In chapter seven, Janet shares a “continuum of proposed grammar teaching” that one school crafted to guide expectations school wide. She also provides suggestions for professional inquiry by studying mentor texts, professional books, and student writing as a staff in order to learn more both about the rules and teaching of grammar. Intermediate grade teachers will devour this book and begin to believe, as Janet does, that “Grammar does not constrain. It’s not a leftover girdle from the 1950s” (p. 123).