The opinion that grammar should be taught through reading and writing is not a recent theory. In 1622 the schoolmaster and textbook writer Joseph Webbe wrote, “No man can run speedily to the mark of language that is shackled---with grammar precepts” (Wang 184). He upheld that grammar could be picked up through reading and writing, “By exercise of reading, writing, and speaking---all things belonging to Grammar, will without labour, and whether we will or not, thrust themselves upon us”(184). Webb’s belief in the power of reading and writing to accord grammar to students while maintaining a positive attitude towards writing is supported throughout the past century as well.
Time spent implementing grammar exercises would be better spent teaching other things such as composition. In the journal College English, education expert Patrick Hartwell shares the opinion that, “In view of the widespread agreement of research studies based upon many types of students and teachers, the conclusion can be stated in strong and unqualified terms: the teaching of formal grammar has a negligible or, because it usually displaces some inst...
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...nded immersion in reading and writing, while avoiding traditional grammar exercises. Despite their low entrance test scores, students in the Stretch program have a 4% higher pass rate than “regular” students taking traditional 101 English equivalent (ASU). The success of these “at risk” students who typically have trouble passing college English courses is a testament to the success of reading and writing as a replacement to grammar exercises in successful writing education.
It is evident from this analysis of effective writing instruction, that attempting to teach grammar through exercises is not as productive as other strategies such as peer assistance, extra writing, and reading. Having students spend time freely reading and writing creates confident writers who approach writing positively, without the woe and drudgery that traditional grammar instruction imposes.
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