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Blast from the Past: The Teaching of Grammar

The Direct Teaching of Grammar

Did you know that the controversy over the direct teaching of grammar is not a new one?In the March 1946 English Journal, educator and former NCTE President Lou LaBrant wrote: "We have some hundreds of studies now which demonstrate that there is little correlation . . . between exercises in punctuation and sentence structure and the tendency to use the principles illustrated in independent writing."English Journal

Something to think about: In the January 2000 English Journal article, "Blueprints or Houses? Lou LaBrant and the Writing Debate," P. L. Thomas discusses the work and contributions of Lou LaBrant, who was one of the foremost progressive practitioners of reading and writing instruction.  

Retaining Grammar Information

Did you know "the reason many students don't retain grammar information is because they can't?" Ann L. Warner raised this key aspect of direct grammar instruction in a 1986 English Journal article that noted "only about half the adolescent and adult population reach the highest levels of formal operational thinking" needed to manage grammar in isolation.


Engaging Grammar: Practical Advice for Real ClassroomsFor more information on grammar, check out Amy Benjamin's book, Engaging Grammar or these NCTE grammar resources for ways to teach grammar within the context of students’ reading, writing, and speaking.






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NCTE - The National Council of Teachers Of English

A Professional Association of Educators in English Studies, Literacy, and Language Arts