Teach Your Child Grammar Early

For some reason, grammar is the forgotten cousin” of reading programs. Back in the good old days, second- and third-graders would learn what a noun is, and the difference between present and past tense verbs. Now the educational system waits until middle school, which is long past the best learning age. Kids then wonder why they need to learn rules about talking and writing, and get no good answers.

As the parent, you have the power to bring language to life for your children.

If you haven’t already noticed, children love to group similar things together. They collect stones of a certain color, or put all their marbles in one place when you make them clean their room. When you show children that words have similar characteristics, they grasp the concept very quickly. Grammar is second nature to children.

The best way I found to introduce grammar to my children was to make a game of it. Several games, actually: the Noun Game, the Verb Game, the Helping Words Game. The rules are very easy: Nouns are words that name something. I am going to say a noun, then it is your turn.” Play for a very short time, until the child is very happy with some noun that he thought of, then tell him he won and end the game. He will beg you to play it again.

Do play it again, later that day or the next. Then do the same thing with Verbs. Then Helping Words (adjectives and adverbs) which get attached to nouns or verbs. When he starts getting bored with these games, add the Preposition game.

Fairly soon, you can introduce him to Advanced games, that include proper nouns and common nouns, different tenses of verbs, etc. Before long he will know all the elements of grammar.

What you will see, as your child learns to read, is that he will recognize all these word forms, and identify them to you. You, of course, will praise him to high heavens for being so clever.

By the time he is in second grade, he will be so far ahead of his classmates in understanding and appreciating how sentences are put together (grammar) that he will gravitate into a leadership position. From there it is a short step to Class President, then a full scholarship to Harvard Law, then being drafted as a Congressional candidate, and finally winning the Presidency.

All from knowing what a noun is.

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