Teaching Reading, Writing, and Grammar Together

I like to incorporate reading, writing, and grammar into a lesson together. I begin by selecting a reading that correlates with the type of writing that the students will be doing in class. I will have them read, and sometimes we read aloud taking turns in class, then I will discuss the reading and the components of that reading that I want the class to focus on for the writing assignment. Once writing has begun, I will remind them to focus on the guidelines for the type of writing we are doing. During the proofreading and editing stage, I select a component of grammar to focus on.

For example, I enjoy the short story “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs. I use this as well as an article entitled “38 Who Saw the Murder” to discuss cause and effect. We discuss in class the chain of events and how each incident that happens creates an effect or another event to happen. After reading the short story, I ask students what would have happened if the wishes had not been made. This begins a discussion of the storyline and the outcome because of circumstances. We discuss life changing events in the story and then begin to relate that to our own lives.

Then comes the writing portion of the lesson. I ask them to think about life changing experiences in their lives, what events have changed them for the better or worse. We discuss what effect college will have on their lives. Will it improve their lives? Will it lead to success of their hopes and dreams? Typically, this leads to personal, narrative writing that focuses on the effects of their choices in life.

During editing/proofreading, I will select a grammar component to focus on. With cause and effect, a good grammar lesson is tense consistency because if students are looking at events and outcomes, they have a tendency to switch verb tense often and make their writing extremely confusing. Therefore, this is the perfect opportunity to focus on keeping events in one time period by using one verb tense throughout the piece of writing.