The ability to convey information through exchange of messages or thoughts is enhanced by a good understanding of English grammar. Writing as a medium of communication is complement to the spoken language or speech. Writing is basically a powerful tool for studying since it plays critical role in education. Among the benefits of writing include generating new ideas, helping us to both absorb and master fresh information, and discover what we know. A number of English textbooks have in one way or another improved the use of English grammar in both writing and speaking among many students. One of these books is “Grammar For High School: A Sentence-Composing Approach,” by Don Killgallon and Jenny Killgallon.
“Grammar For High School: A Sentence-Composing Approach,” was published on July 2007 by Heinemann. Its ISBN- 10 is 0325010463 and ISBN-13 is 9780325010465. The book is composed of 176 pages, its dimensions are 8.6 inches (w) x 0.6 inches (h) x 11 inches (d), and it weighs 14.4 Oz. The text features an enhanced organization, comprehensive clarification of the grammar and writing points, and exercises that help students when revising what they have already learnt. The book’s grade level is 9th to 12th.
This text is unique and eminently teachable. Its distinctive feature is the connecting of three strands of English curriculum that is, grammar, literature, and writing through the exclusive usage of literary model sentences for the students to replicate, manipulate, and imitate in their personal writing. Albeit based on the grammatical structures normally trained in the secondary English classes, this text differs greatly from the traditional grammar teaching.
This textbook successfully combines writing and grammar based approaches and at the same time provides students with a reference book, which they can constantly consult and understand. While focusing on the grammar, this text promotes development of all the language skills in various ways. One of the imperative points to note about this text is that it functions primarily as a teaching text in classrooms and as an inclusive reference text for high school students. Therefore, this book gives the students an opportunity to both absorb and replicate grammar used in many finest novels.
What’s more, 14 grammatical structures are essentially established in this text as writing tools in an understandable, accessible, and similar way through sentence composing approach. For every structure, students have a better opportunity of learning a perfect definition of its function and characteristics, practice it through the 5 guided sentence composing undertakings, expand their comprehension through independent creative writing activity, and vary tools through multiplying as well as combining them. Both teachers and students discover how powerful sentence-composing approach is for learning grammar after using this classic textbook.
In terms of contents, the authors of this book have begun by talking about the grammar of the Greats. According to them, over 250 titles, 200 authors, and 600 sentences form the basis for practices in the book. This particular part is composed of model sentences from the books that are read independently by the high school students and novels frequently taught in senior high grades such as Harper Lee’s To kill a Mocking Bird, Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, and others. This provides a mentorship for high school students in constructing better sentences, an apprenticeship in studying “grammar of the greats.” Next, they talk about using Sentence – Composing Toolbox. This is the heart of the text where the book teaches the 14 grammatical tools, which writers use in their sentences and which students can use in their own sentences. The book also talks about multiplying and mixing the tools. Finally, the authors talk about punctuating and writing like a Pro.
“Grammar For High School: A Sentence-Composing Approach,” presents 4 sentences- composing activities that include unscrambling to imitate, combining to imitate, imitating alone, and expanding. In addition, sentence composing offers acrobatic training in the sentence dexterity. All the 4 sentence-composing techniques use literature like a writing school with a professional writers’ faculty. In developing each of 14 tools in the text, the authors have presented the above mentioned types of sentence- composing activities in ascending challenge level that is, from most reliant to least.
One of the important things about this English textbook is that it does much more than just naming the tools. The authors teach the students how to use these tools to build improved sentences through grammar application to writing improvement and use rich sentences from the literature as models. The book also provides various activities for teaching the students to build better sentences. For that reason, by learning, doing practice, and applying professional writers’ grammatical tools, students better their own writing.
Moreover, “Grammar For High School: A Sentence-Composing Approach,” influences development of exceptional style. The two authors have signature sentence style, which markedly boosts their writing. After being exposed to hundreds of varied professional sentence styles by this book, numerous students, with their freshly acquired understanding of the “style,” will have a chance to create their individual distinctive style. Through exclusive and abundant use of many professional model sentences, this book shows how literary sentences contrast from the conversational sentences that is, how writing varies from speaking.
Within every student is an innate capability to learn through imitating others. Imitating the professional model sentences is actually the foundation of sentence-composing approach to the sentence improvement. It is basically a link between the authors’ literary sentences and students’ conversational sentences. Through imitation as suggested by this book, students can study how to build their sentences like Maya Angelou, J.K. Rowling, Earnest Hemingway, Stephen King, John Steinbeck, or any other author. Thus, in imitating the model sentences, the students borrow something that is, structure and add something that is, content, by merging of creation and imitation.
As the students work through this epic book, they will assimilate authors’ grammatical tools; hence this will help them create their personal “toolbox” that helps them to develop their distinctive style, discovering their personal important voices as writers, and then lastingly hearing whispering of the other voices- John Steinbeck’s, Harper Lee’s, William Golding’s, Ernest Hemingway’s, and the rest in the book, voices which help them realize their own. Students have reacted positively to this text as it is enjoyable to read and very understandable. The use of grammatical tools of other renowned authors in this textbook makes it become lively hence the positive feedbacks from its users majority being high school students. However, the authors have not used graphics much.
Calvani, M., & Edwards, A. K. (2008). The slippery art of book reviewing. Kingsport Tenn: Twilight Times Book
Killgallon, D., & Killgallon, J. (2007). Grammar for high school: A sentence-composing approach: a student worktext. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Sova, D. B., & Teitelbaum, H. (2002). How to write book reports. Lawrenceville, NJ: Thomson/ARCO.