Volume 5 #5 May
If you are using the DL glasses, you may find that your student is bouncing ahead in the phonics book with the danger that he is not keeping up with the spelling exercises, and especially not with the lessons in grammar. Since grammar is processed in the same left side of the brain, and awareness of grammar is the basis for comprehension, you don’t want to neglect it. I have found that tutors, especially, tend to finesse grammar lessons, partly because they haven’t needed to teach it in a class as a regular teacher has, but also because they may never have been taught it in school, themselves. There was a day twenty or so years ago during the “Whole Language” disaster when grammar was a dirty word and you certainly didn’t make the poor little dears in your class memorize such dry and mechanical things.
Of course if you were dyslectic, even if they taught it, the lessons went in one ear and out the window. I just asked a nice little girl I am teaching whether the teacher last year had gone over the difference between a noun and a verb. (I never ask whether a pupil knows the difference between a noun and a verb. That puts him on the spot. Not nice. So I ask whether his school taught that stuff, because sometimes schools did and sometimes they didn’t. When the pupil says that no, they didn’t, well, he is right. At least they didn’t teach it to him!)
This child answered that she thought they had maybe done it in the third grade, but she wasn’t sure. In any case, it was all a big blank to her.
Workbook 2 in the Reading from Scratch program has what you need, and you can do the exercises in it orally if your student is not yet able to read it. And you can supplement areas like telling the difference between a noun and a verb. There is a page (13) on which the exercise is to write two sentences using a certain word, once as a noun and once as a verb. You can turn this into an oral exercise early in the game, and supplement it with a bunch of other words, such as stick, burn, bend, crack, cook, face, and pay, which can be either noun or verb. While he still can’t write them, you have time to do these extras.
Chapter 9 in the Tutor’s Guide gives you detailed instructions on how to teach grammar and parts of speech.
Shoot, this whole newsletter is a teaching tip.