I remember learning the rules a kid. I did well, because I was good at rote learning. But I remember how grammar concepts just didn’t make sense. As I think back, I guess it didn’t make sense, because I wasn’t applying the skills to my writing. In fact, I remember doing skill sheets, but I don’t remember actual writing until it came to learning term papers. I also remember diagramming sentences. I thought it was neat how the lines would sprout off. I didn’t quite remember how it helped me write better. Oh, I do think I understood adjectives and adverbs, but the direct object? Who cared?
Now, I have to teach grammar skills to students. I want the concepts to make sense to them. I want them to have a purpose in learning about the parts of speech, and to apply it in their own writing.
I came across a series of books called If You Were an (name the part of speech). I’m featuring If You Were an Adverb today. It makes sense. The visual illustrations demonstrate the word usage, making the rule clearer. Each two page layout explains a rule or clue to go along with the part of speech. For example, the ‘ly’ is the “tail” on an adverb: perfectly, speedily.
The font accentuates the adverb to show the reader the part of speech. The illustrator uses a different size, style, and color for the adverb. This helps the reader to recognize the part of speech and its usage in a sentence. As a teacher, you can read each section and ask the students to try it in their writing. You could use it to create classroom charts. The books are a great way to teach the skill that will then be reinforced, as Jeff Anderson shows in Everyday Editing.
As a connection, the author added a classroom activity at the end. he encourages the students to role play the adverb. Very creative way to help the kinesthetic learner understand the concept of the adverb.
Included is website sources to go to for further learning opportunities. The website is www.facthound.com, but you need the special codes to link you to the other related activities.