Grammar is the way in which words are ordered to make sentences. Using grammar correctly allows us to be clearly understood by others. Grammar is also about how the meanings of words can change when they are used in different contexts: Did you feel afraid when you were watching the Blair Witch Project? No, I’m afraid I didn’t. Strong grammar skills aid both verbal and written communication and enable children to expand their vocabulary by discovering new and interesting ways to present information and communicate their ideas. Here we share some other reasons why learning grammar is worthwhile.
Learning English grammar helps children to learn other languages. According to Richard Hudson and John Walmsley in their article, The English Patient: English Grammar Teaching in the Twentieth Century: ‘…to support foreign-language learning explicit instruction is an important part of grammar teaching and is easier if pupils already have some understanding of how their first language works’.
In order to be able to progress in a foreign language beyond primary level it helps if children understand English grammar. For instance, if a child knows what a preposition, a verb or a conjunction is in English they will easily identify the foreign equivalent. If they understand the structure of simple and compound English sentences, then that skill can be applied to a foreign language too.
Speaking a foreign language is an invaluable skill and it is now a compulsory part of the Key Stage 2 curriculum. Proficiency in another language opens the door to understanding other cultures and appreciating their literature and their art. It also considerably enhances career prospects.
Poor grammar, spelling and punctuation will lose a student marks not only in their GCSE English examinations but also in other subjects too including geography and history. The earlier children get to grips with grammar the better their chances later.
If you have ever been in a position to open job application letters then you will know that English grammar is important. How many letters composed by well qualified, talented people have been thrown in the bin because they were poorly written? It may be unjust, but it is a fact. The job market is competitive and we need to give children every chance we can, and one way we can do this is by ensuring that their writing doesn’t undersell them. First impressions count.
Grammar supports creativity. Whilst writing the first draft of a poem or story children write freely and spontaneously. Afterwards, if they have some grammar knowledge they can return to their work and polish it. They will know how to successfully convey their ideas to others, portraying the effects and evoking the emotions that they wish. They will be able to add style, variety and individuality to their work because they can sculpt their raw material – words and sentences. Grammar is a valuable writer’s tool.
Grammar develops children’s thinking and investigative skills. In order to understand it, children need to make logical connections such as classification, causation and time. When grammar is taught through investigation of children’s existing knowledge it is a good foundation for scientific method. Moreover, if taught in this way, grammar is interesting and enjoyable. Children will develop a critical response to some of the ways that language is used every day.
Supporting your child
Anybody who went to school in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s received very little, if any, grammar instruction so it can be helpful to brush up so we can support our children. The best grammar books for clear, concise explanations are children’s books! Junior Illustrated: Grammar and Punctuation by Jane Bingham and Alex Latimeris a fantastic starting point and very cheap to order on the Internet.
Useful websites to explore are:
English Grammar Lessons, https://english-grammar-lessons.com/
Grammar Reference, The British Council: http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/english-grammar-reference
If you feel you would benefit more from direct teaching, Cactus TEFL offers an online grammar course designed for those wishing to teach English as a foreign language, but it is beneficial for everybody: http://www.cactustefl.com/ela/
Making grammar exciting for children
Learning grammar should always be fun. Children learn best when they are excited and enjoying what they are doing. We recommend:
How TutorMyKids can help
confusing – the rules don’t always seem to make sense. Our specialist English
Language tutors are experienced in helping children to understand this
complicated area, raising the quality of their oral and written communication. To find out more, contact us today: 01223 858
 The English Patient: English grammar and teaching in the twentieth century, Journal of Linguistics, Cambridge University Press, https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-linguistics/article/english-patient-english-grammar-and-teaching-in-the-twentieth-century/97B51A21E50FD0960400C42C65CBF1A2