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Grammar Resources

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The ABC’s and All Their Tricks
Margaret Bishop

Click to order The ABC’s and All Their Tricks This invaluable teacher’s resource for understanding the rules of phonics and spelling belongs on every homeschool parent’s bookshelf. Mrs. Bishop’s excellent introduction explains letter names and sounds, the two styles of English spelling, syllables, roots, vowel sounds and letters, including vowel teams and silent vowel letters, consonant sounds and letters, including consonant teams, blends, silent consonants, etc.,and homonyms and spelling options. The bulk of the book is the alphabetical listing of letters, such as the -ff spelling as in sniff. After listing many example words in which this spelling appears, she explains its use: “FF is a letter team for the sound of F at the end of the word. It is used right after a short vowel.” I can’t reproduce all her helps for teaching even the -ff spelling here, but every vowel, consonant, team, and spelling variation has its own entry, with example words, the rules governing its use, and the explanation of those rules. Besides all this, the appendix is a goldmine of information on syllabication, stress and its importance to proper spelling, the rules governing both the native English side of English spelling and the Latin side of English spelling, adding both native English and Latin prefixes and suffixes, and a section on teaching remedial reading to children of any age as well as adults. This book goes way beyond just listing rules, and explains why the rules work the way they do. If you can only buy one teacher’s resource for the whole grammar stage, make it this one.

The Phonic Spelling Rules presented in The ABC’s and All Their Tricks, used to teach spelling with Webster’s Elementary Spelling Book or McGuffey’s Eclectic Progressive Speller.

Warriner’s English Composition and Grammar
John Warriner

Click to order Warriner’s English Composition and Grammar This excellent reference thoroughly covers grammar and writing in detail, with a complete section on writing mechanics, usage, correct and clear writing, using references, and even public speaking. CCH’s top choice for a grammar reference--it can be referred to again and again in the grammar stage for questions of mechanics and spelling helps, and to clarify phrases and clauses instruction during syntax teaching in 5th and 6th grades, and it can also be used very effectively to teach a complete dialectic stage writing program. If you can find an out-of-print edition of Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition: the Complete Course (pre-1965), the practice sentences suffer less from political correctness.

Harvey’s Revised English Grammar
Thomas Harvey

Click to order Harvey’s Revised English Grammar Thomas Harvey’s English Grammar has been a classic for over a century. Introduced in the 19th century before the dumbing down of our schools, it was meant to follow Harvey’s Elementary Grammar, and not only makes a fine reference, but can be used to teach older students grammar who missed it in the grammar stage. A great benefit to this grammar over Warriner’s is that so many of the examples and exercies are from the Bible, Shakespeare, and other great literature. As with Harvey’s Elementary Grammar, the style of presenting lessons is not what we are used to, but the content is exemplary. The first section reviews orthography, the second teaches etymology, the third syntax, and the fourth prosody, which deals with versification in poetry. The final section provides instruction in both the standard and a revised method of diagramming sentences.

Learning Grammar Through Writing
Sandra M. Bell, James Wheeler

Click to order Learning Grammar Through Writing This reference is different from the others. It is designed to be used to check a child’s written work for grammatical correctness and correct writing mechanics. This manual includes all the rules of usage and writing, with examples, in 13 chapters: nouns and pronouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections, sentences, paragraphs, compositions, style, capitalization, punctuation, spelling, letters, and problem words and expressions. The rules are divided into elementary and secondary levels. My only caution is to teach the rule before correcting your child’s writing for that rule.

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