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Grammar options with labeling instead of diagramming


kirstenhill
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DS11 just finished IEW Fix-It Book 2 (the revised book 2, which is definitely easier than the original book 2).  He is dysgraphic/dyslexic and I vastly prefer labeling parts of speech over trying to have him re-write sentences in diagramming format. 

There are few things that are driving me crazy about Fix-it - namely the fact that the student is frequently supposed to skip over words that are not marked at all, and because of the IEW-specific terminology that is used.   I tried a little bit of MCT with him a year ago, and it was just too...abstract somehow.  He liked the "Island" level story but was not retaining anything about grammar.

Are there other options we should consider that label parts of speech instead of diagramming?   This would either be for next year in 6th grade, or possibly to start sooner since I am doing reading/spelling related work with him year-round, and we often fit grammar into that block anyway.

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I don't think easy grammar has diagramming. https://www.rainbowresource.com/category/1750/Easy-Grammar-Series.html

I'm using Analytical grammar (original) with my dyslexic son. I like the pace and no overkill grammar all year long. He was not quite ready in the fall so we did Rod and Staff 5 mostly orally. You certainly could skip the diagramming in rod and staff, but it is sure there;) we did a lot of it....counted it as writing.

Edited by countrymum
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17 minutes ago, countrymum said:

I've heard Winston grammar recommended for dyslexia I think. It uses shapes right?

They have a system for underlying and labeling parts of speech. They also have parts of speech cards that you can use to model the sentence, but we just set them out to reference. 

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1 hour ago, countrymum said:

I've heard Winston grammar recommended for dyslexia I think. It uses shapes right?

 

1 hour ago, amiesmom said:

They have a system for underlying and labeling parts of speech. They also have parts of speech cards that you can use to model the sentence, but we just set them out to reference. 

This one is on my radar but I was having a hard time figuring out what was going on with it besides the cards.  I'll be checking out more knowing that it has a labeling component as well. 

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4 hours ago, kirstenhill said:

 

This one is on my radar but I was having a hard time figuring out what was going on with it besides the cards.  I'll be checking out more knowing that it has a labeling component as well. 

Winston website -- and below, are links to sample pages.

Winston Basic = basic sentence structure:
- 8 parts of speech
- 2 parts of a sentence (subject, predicate) 
- prepositional phrases
- coordinating conjunctions
- nouns of direct address
- direct & indirect objects
- appositives

Winston Word Works = grammar usage: 
- subject-verb agreement, esp. with compound subjects
- personal pronoun functions
- interrogative pronouns (who/whom)
- comparatives and superlatives
- "troublesome" words

Winston Advanced = advanced sentence structure:
- 4 types of sentences (simple, compound, complex, compound-complex)
- possessive adjectives / possessive pronouns and nouns
- reflexives
- interrogative pronouns, relative pronouns
- present/past participles
- correlative conjunctions
- infinitives, gerunds
- embedded noun clauses

 

I would actually recommend that you buzz through Joyce Herzog's 6 Weeks to Understanding Grammar first (either you alone or with your DS), and then you can apply her method and adapt Winston to use with your DS. Joyce Herzog has you start with 2-word complete sentences (subject/predicate -- noun/verb), and then you see how everything adds on to that.

I went to one of her homeschool convention sessions MANY years ago, and it was a major lightbulb in understanding how to teach grammar. I then adapted Winston Grammar and we did a form of "parsing" on the whiteboard with the practice sentences -- we marked with lines, arrows, boxes and circles to show how each word in the sentence was working. We first would first label the parts of speech, then find that "simple sentence" (2 word noun-verb / subject/predicate), and then mark how everything else was adding on to that "simple sentence."

Edited by Lori D.
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You may want to look into Montessori grammar materials.  DS used to use color coding to identify parts of speech after using paper versions of the symbols, but they have materials that go deeper than that, like preprinted sentence analysis arrows that can be placed with the part of the sentence it identifies.

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PS
In case it helps, I talked through parsing with DSs to see how words were working in a sentence, and we treated it sort of like puzzle-solving. Below is a reprint of a post of mine explaining how we did it, from this 2010 thread, "Parsing sentences - which part of speech to identify first?"

__________________


We ALWAYS start with what we call "the simple sentence": the "who or what" of a sentence (simple subject -- usually a noun or a pronoun) and the "what happened" of a sentence (simple predicate -- usually a verb, or a verb+helping verb). Once you have found the subject (a noun or pronoun) and the simple predicate (a verb) -- EVERYTHING else is simply adding on and modifying those two words in some way.

To help narrow down the subject, one way to think of it is: what are the two words that you HAVE to have in order to have a complete sentence (a "who or what" and a "what happened to that who or what"). Example: "John threw the ball to his dog Spot." Here you have "John", "ball" "dog" and "Spot" as your nouns and all are candidates for being your subject. What can you get rid of and still have a sentence? "To his dog Spot" doesn't work as a complete sentence. "Threw to his dog" doesn't work as a complete sentence. But you could narrow it down to "John threw the ball." Now you just have "John" and "ball" as possible subjects. To figure out the subject, look at the predicate (the verb): "threw"; who or what is most connected to that verb? Who or what did the throwing? That will be your subject.

Next, we look for pronouns; they are among the easiest parts of speech to find. After that, we look for nouns. Once you have all the nouns and pronouns identified, we look for adjectives, which are often right next to, or pretty near to, the noun/pronoun they are modifying.


Before we start trying to find prepositional phrases (prepositions and adverbs seem to be tricky to students), we skip over and eliminate conjunctions, interjections, and adjectives, since they are all easier to find.

Next, we usually try to eliminate adverbs, by asking if any words add on the verb and tell you HOW the action occured. Example:

sentence: The dog ran quickly through the mud puddle.
me: You've already told me "run" is the action, the verb of this sentence. How did the dog run?
child: Quickly.
me: So, if run is the verb, what part of speech "adds on" to verbs?
child: Adverb.
me: So if "quickly" adds on and tells us how the dog ran, then quickly must be...
child: An adverb.


At this point, the only thing left will be prepositions. However, if the student was confused with other words, you may still need to narrow down the prepositions. If so, remember that preposition has the word "position" in it -- it's telling you about the position of things (nouns): across the table; under the sink; over the hill; through the woods...

At this point, if the student is STILL struggling to figure out the prepositions and prepositional phrases, I have them go back and look at all the nouns and pronouns they have already located. I remind them that every noun and pronoun *has* to have a "job" (a noun function); one "job" (function) will always be the subject. Are there any more nouns or pronouns in the sentence? Then let's figure out what the job is that each is doing:

Naming Jobs
1. Subject (the "who or what" the sentence is about)
2. Appositive (renames the subject immediately following the subject)
3. Predicate Nominative (renames the subject in the predicate (after the verb))
4. Noun of Direct Address (directly names a person)

Object Jobs
1. Object of the preposition (prepositional phrase = first word = preposition, last word = noun or pronoun)

2. Direct Object (The subject directly acts on the noun/pronoun that is the direct object: Tom threw the ball. -- What did the subject Tom throw?)

3. Indirect Obect (The noun/pronoun which indirectly gets involved in the action: Tom threw Mary the ball -- what did the subject Tom throw? The ball (direct object); The ball was thrown to whom? Mary (indirect object)

 

Again, start with identifying the simple sentence, and work out from there. This works very well with both my visual spatial learner AND my auditory-sequential learner. Hope something there is of help! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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18 hours ago, kirstenhill said:

I tried a little bit of MCT with him a year ago, and it was just too...abstract somehow.  He liked the "Island" level story but was not retaining anything about grammar.

Did you do the practice book every day?  That is a critical piece of the program.  We did it together as a discussion on the couch.  I wrote.

A great complement to MCT is Hake (Saxon) grammar.  We found that doing most of it orally worked best.  My kids wrote in the book for the rest.

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1 hour ago, EKS said:

Did you do the practice book every day?  That is a critical piece of the program.  We did it together as a discussion on the couch.  I wrote.

A great complement to MCT is Hake (Saxon) grammar.  We found that doing most of it orally worked best.  My kids wrote in the book for the rest.

We tried to do the the practice book, but essentially after reading the “story” he didn’t understand how to even mark the sentences, and had no better understanding of the parts of speech or parts of a sentence.  We didn’t try it for very long, but the straightforward instruction in IEW Fix It, while somewhat minimal, was much more understandable to him.  IEW Fix It has been workable for us, and he would get nearly everything correct on most days.   I think the focus on the IEW terminology is probably what bothers me the most - they use terms for different clauses that are different from what most grammar books use, and students are supposed to remember a list of sentence openers that are listed by number.  We aren’t currently using IEW for writing, so spending time memorizing the things that match the IEW writing don’t make sense for him (I did use some IEW with my older kids, so Fix It was a better fit for them). 

Edited by kirstenhill
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Easy Grammar was a fail here because every page is set up the same way, and instead of learning the grammar concepts, both DSs quickly learned the "pattern" of answers on the page and filled it out according to the "pattern" with no learning along the way. 😫

So, something to watch for if you go with Easy Grammar.

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50 minutes ago, kirstenhill said:

... We aren’t currently using IEW for writing, so spending time memorizing the things that match the IEW writing don’t make sense for him (I did use some IEW with my older kids, so Fix It was a better fit for them)...

I can often tell which students have used IEW in my high school Lit. & Comp. homeschool co-op classes. Some students memorize IEW and apply it like a formula, resulting in very stilted writing. Also, IEW emphasizes using vivid descriptors and using synonyms to avoid repeating the same words over and over -- which are great ideas for interesting writing, but I see students trying so hard to avoid repeating words that they end up sounding like they swallowed a thesaurus -- and often the choice of synonyms is not quite right, so what they are expressing is not correct.

IEW works great for many, but for others it can create unnatural writing. 🤷‍♀️

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1 hour ago, kirstenhill said:

We tried to do the the practice book, but essentially after reading the “story” he didn’t understand how to even mark the sentences, and had no better understanding of the parts of speech or parts of a sentence.  

It takes time and additional instruction.  Hence the daily conversation (for months).

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22 hours ago, lmrich said:

Easy Grammar - I tell my students, "It is not called - mean, tricky grammar but Easy Grammar" - it gets the job done. Learning to cross out prepostional phrases first is a great strategy! 

And when the private school I was teaching at used it, our kids tested in 99th percentile year after year.  

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3 hours ago, Lori D. said:

Easy Grammar was a fail here because every page is set up the same way, and instead of learning the grammar concepts, both DSs quickly learned the "pattern" of answers on the page and filled it out according to the "pattern" with no learning along the way. 😫

So, something to watch for if you go with Easy Grammar.

Oh wow!  I don't quite understand how this can happen, unless it's multiple choice. Am I missing something?  I was looking at it for my slower learner after seeing it in this thread.  He is not a cheater, though.  

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1 hour ago, Ting Tang said:

Oh wow!  I don't quite understand how this can happen, unless it's multiple choice. Am I missing something?  I was looking at it for my slower learner after seeing it in this thread.  He is not a cheater, though.  

It has been SO long since we used it, EG may have revised their program. But at the time we used EG... I can't explain -- but it was clear DSs were NOT learning the concepts and the ability to reproduce the concepts -- just learning how to put down the expected answer, and not understanding the concept.

 

And, as with ALL programs, YMMV -- our experience may not be your experience. That is why there are so many very different Grammar programs out there -- something for everyone and their unique learners. 😉

Edited by Lori D.
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On 3/16/2023 at 3:54 PM, Lori D. said:

It has been SO long since we used it, EG may have revised their program. But at the time we used EG... I can't explain -- but it was clear DSs were NOT learning the concepts and the ability to reproduce the concepts -- just learning how to put down the expected answer, and not understanding the concept.

We didn't use EG, but I had a similar experience with a different popular curriculum.  The student sample sentences were contrived to match the lesson being taught. DS did great with the lessons, but when presented with a non-contrived (eg. normal writing) sentence, he was at sea. I had to give him real-life sentences and re-teach the instruction.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

I see it has been mentioned, but I was going to recommend Winston. We did the first book (dark pink) two years ago and then switched to Fix It for the last two years. I definitely like Winston better and so do my two boys—one is dyslexic and one is a grammar whiz, and it worked well for both. I’m already looking at running through the Winston book again this fall and then moving on in it. (Only negative is I don’t think it has the editing though, like Fix It.)

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On 3/15/2023 at 7:00 PM, countrymum said:

I've heard Winston grammar recommended for dyslexia I think. It uses shapes right?

Not that I remember, although we didn't complete it, because my normally compliant daughter refused to do it after about the fifth lesson, so if there are shapes, those must have come later. We used labeled each word with a business card-sized card for the part of speech.

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On 3/16/2023 at 1:14 PM, kirstenhill said:

We tried to do the the practice book, but essentially after reading the “story” he didn’t understand how to even mark the sentences, and had no better understanding of the parts of speech or parts of a sentence. 

Most of the grammar instruction in the island level, and how to mark up sentences,  is actually in the Sentence Island book, which should be completed before starting on Practice Island.  The Grammar book just introduces, the Sentence book teaches how to apply.

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It's out of print in the format I like it in (more a board game than a puzzle), but the Sillly Sentences  gamehas been great with my dyslexic son for learning parts of speech.   It has three lengths of sentence, and has nouns, verbs, adjectives, articles, and prepositions.  The longest sentence, the last half is a prepositional phrase. 

It's not a replacement for a curriculum, but it's a good supplement to one.

Here are some extra ways I used it...

If you fold one or more of the game boards so you just see the prepositional phrase, you can add extra prepositional phrases to a sentence. 

It doesn't have conjunctions, but we made cards with and, but, so, because and or on them and then joined different sentence together with them.   Words better for the shorter sentences because since these are "silly" sentences (think mad libs, but you fill in ALL the words), it's hard to find sentences that work with anything but "and."

At some point, I have kids try putting the wrong word type in a spot and see what happens to the sentence (just in one place, not in all the places). 

Also, we try adding extras of different words (they learn extra articles don't work, verbs and nouns don't work unless you also add an and, but you can add as many adjectives as you want.



 

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