Amy Benjamin and Joan Berger
Eye on Education, (2010)
Reviewed by Marti Schwartz
Literacy consultant and teacher (DE)
Teacher Leaders Network
Raise your hand if you want your students to be better writers. Good – now raise your hand if you feel, somewhere in your conscience or your gut, that you should be teaching more grammar. Gotcha!
So — how about a book that will allow you to accomplish both goals at once? Teaching Grammar: What Really Works by Amy Benjamin & Joan Berger could be just the solution. Their (combined) experience of 70 years in middle and high school classrooms suggests that these folks truly know what they are talking about.
The authors’ clear explanations of nominal phrases, clauses, coordinating conjunctions and participial phrases helped make many things clear to me. Mind you, I “learned” these lessons back in 7th grade (in Mr. Galuska’s class, where we diagrammed sentences on chalkboards), and then promptly forgot them because they seemed so irrelevant.
Now that I’m teaching high school English to students who hope to become the first in their families to go to college, grammar matters. Raising the quality of their written language is hugely important. What Benjamin and Berger have done is made grammar accessible through some very interesting lessons, detailed explanations, and handy downloads (accessible via a code in the book) which will further help your students and save you the time of creating them.