Speak Write Series – How to Improve Your Child’s Grammar Skills?
“I hate grammar!” With the launch of our English Language Programme, we have heard this comment from our students a lot! Many view grammar as a tedious, torturous, and tough skill to master. It consists of a body of technical rules, numerous terms, and complicated concepts that most kids absolutely dislike! Our Speak Write Series will explore various linguistic concepts that straddles both written and verbal communication for your child.
Unfortunately, grammar is a crucial component of your child’s English Language development. It forms one of the foundations for clear communication, both in the written and verbal form as well. Understanding grammar rules also allow your child to communicate effectively, be it in a story, an informal conversation, or even a formal project in school. Don’t worry, we are not here to be the grammar police for your child! Instead, we believe that mastering grammar skills require one to nurture the love for the language and view grammar rules as indispensable tools in their quest to be better communicators.
With that, let us share three simple tips on how your child can slowly, but surely, master their grammar skills as part of the English Language!
Tip #1: Understanding the Foundations – Nouns, Verbs, Tenses … and More!
We believe that mastering grammar rules require students to first understand, appreciate and internalise the foundations of grammar before jumping into the rules. While it is easier to simply adopt a rote learning method by asking our students to memorise answers or general rules without context, it is still essential to understand the basics. For example, while going through your child’s answers for a grammar question, try and explain the underlying foundational concepts.
These foundational concepts may consist of (i) understanding the general terms such as nouns, verbs or adverbs, and (ii) understanding general tenses rule. For example, in answering the question below:
The hikers ________ at the foot of the hill when the mudslide started its devastating course. (rest)
remember to bring your child through the relevant concept (in this case, the answer should be in the past, continuous tense – were resting!), and explain how to derive the answer for this (*see image below*).
Tip #2: Adopt a Formulaic and Methodological Approach
After your child has developed a comfortable understanding of the underlying grammar concepts, the next step is to introduce them to a formulaic and methodological approach to answering questions. We say this because some of our students answer grammar questions based on ‘feel’. When asked to explain what they mean by this, most students are unable to explain what this ‘feel’ entails.
To us, this ‘feel’ is an extension of a formulaic approach to answering grammar questions. This involves identifying relationships between the different words or the sentence structure in choosing the correct answer. For example, the “Who/Whom” formulaic method can be used for the question below:
My mother, ________ I adore, is a very supportive and kind lady. (who or whom?)
As the “________” occurs between two ‘persons’ (mother + I), the correct answer should be whom! Alternatively, for:
My mother, ________ enjoys cooking for us, is a very supportive and kind lady. (who or whom?)
This time around, as the “________” occurs between a person and a non-person (mother + enjoys cooking), the correct answer should be who!
This is just an example of a formulaic method that allows students to arrive at the correct answer in a structured and guided manner!
Tip #3: Practise, Practise, and Practise
Any articles on mastering a topic will not be complete without a reminder to practise, practise and practise! The same would also apply for grammar skills as well. Beyond simply repeating assessments or going through test papers for your child, the practice sessions should also involve a re-teaching segment. This encourages your child to explain their answer to you in their own words, solidifying their understanding of the various concepts. The practise sessions should also include both a recap segment and introduce students to a focused technique or formula. Ultimately, the aim is to create an engaging, creative and dynamic practice session for your child!
Grammar skills can be painful, especially for our young communicators. That does not mean that we should toss it aside and forget about it. While you may not need to hit perfection for your child’s grammar skills, getting them to understand the concepts clearly and effectively is a strong start to your child’s English Language development.
We look forward to your child’s continued growth as an all-rounded communicator with these three tips!
Public Speaking Academy strives to help students with both types of communication:
For written communication:
English Tuition for Kids – Primary 5 & 6 (PSLE):
For verbal communication:
Public Speaking for Kids / Children: