Island Parent Magazine

Island Parent Magazine (Vancouver Island, BC)

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English Grammar Made Easy

My 15 year old daughter recently asked me a question about her French homework. She muttered something about pronouns and indirect objects and I could tell she had no idea what she was talking about. The problem was not the French homework at all (the instructions for the exercise were clear enough), but the fact that she really did not understand the grammar in English.

A lack of thorough grounding in English grammar is not at all uncommon.  To address this problem, Marie Rackham, educator and grammar advocate, has created an easy-to-use resource for parents, educators, and students alike.

The Basic Cozy Grammar Course consists of two video-tapes and a workbook with plenty of examples, exercises, and an answer key. The course covers all the basics from parts of speech and types of sentences to coordinate conjunctions and misplaced phrases. These concepts are described on the video-tapes using real life situations and settings to illustrate clear and relevant examples.

The video-tapes are shot on location on Vancouver Island beaches and in a cozy home and garden.  The quality of the tapes is excellent – interesting camera angles, classical music, and great settings provide an interesting context for the subject matter. Initially, I was a little concerned that Marie’s over-the-top performance style would soon become irritating.  In fact, the opposite was true.  As I watched more of the tapes, Marie grew on me. I was quite interested to see how she integrated real life settings and situations into each of her 27 grammar lessons. A scene at a dinner table with friends became the perfect excuse for chatting about pronouns, and a trip to the beach provided Marie with many opportunities to talk about the difference between transitive, intransitive, and copula verbs.

Recognizing that students learn in different ways, text is superimposed over the video images to underscore the key points being covered in the lessons.  In this manner, Marie supports visual, auditory, and contextual learning styles.

The accompanying workbook is logically organized, clearly written, and provides clear examples of each grammar topic.  There are enough exercises to get a student started without beating the subject to death.  The workbook also includes answer keys, several grammar tests, and a bibliography for those who would like to tackle more complex grammatical subjects.

A useful tool for ESL students, adults, kids, and teachers, The Basic Cozy Grammar Course is equally suited for classroom and individual use.

Island Parent Online