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The Great American Authors: High School Grammar Reinforcement The Great World Authors: High School Grammar Reinforcement Review by Christine Field

Analytical Grammar
3810-201 Lunceston Way
Raleigh, NC 27613

In order to understand these high school grammar reinforcement volumes, you have to understand a little about the Analytical Grammar approach. Much like a systematic, incremental approach to math, AG takes a systematic approach to language mastery. The author is on a "mission" to help parents see that children don't need to "do grammar" every day, with endless review and repetition, which is quickly forgotten. Instead, she says, "If grammar is taught sequentially and logically, there is no need for so much repetition.

There are two levels to the basic AG approach. Junior Analytical Grammar covers 11 weeks and is written for 4th or 5th graders. Analytical Grammar is a 3-year course for 6th graders and above. It is unique in that in the first year, grammar is taught for 10 weeks, covering the first 10 units. (Incidentally, this is a repeat of what is taught in Junior Analytical Grammar. So, if you are starting a new student in AG and they are above 5th grade, you can start with the main AG course.) In the second year of AG, grammar is taught for eight weeks, covering units 11-17. For the remainder of these years, students do reinforcement exercises once a month. In the third and final year, students take 17 weeks to cover units 19-34, which completes the formal study of grammar and mechanics. Students starting in older grades can follow a modified schedule, provided by the author. During the time that students are completing these materials, they are creating their own Grammar Notebooks, which can be used as a self-made reference for a lifetime!

Upon completion of the AG program, students can then move into these High School Reinforcement books, which are the subject of this review. The Great American Authors: High School Reinforcement Book consists of 18 reinforcement exercises. Students can use the aforementioned grammar notebook as they work through the exercises. Each exercise is in this order: Two sentences are to be diagrammed, sentences 3-5 are for grammar analysis, 6-8 are for punctuation, and the final two sentences are for practicing usage stills.

The exercises themselves (the ten sentences for analysis) are a passage written about the life of an author and his works. Students are also furnished with a list of the authors and suggested works. Many of these books can be found online or at the public library. For the Great American Authors text, the following authors are featured: Wheatley, Irving, Longfellow, Poe, Dickinson, Alcott, Twain, Cather, Frost, London, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Ferber, Steinbeck, Hughes, Miller, Bradbury, and Hansberry. A complete answer key is provided for the exercises.

The Great World Authors book also has 18 reinforcement exercises. Similar to the above, each exercise requires the first two sentences to be diagrammed, and sentences 3-5 are for practicing grammar analysis skills. The next section is to be copy edited, and students are asked to use copy-editing marks (supplied in the book). Some sentences have to be rewritten. The student makes corrections and checks them with the enclosed answer key. If something is missed, the student is asked to figure out the rule being used, return to that section in the grammar notebook, and refresh their memory. For the Great World Authors book, the following authors are featured: Homer, King James Bible, Dante, Machiavelli, de Cervantes, Moliere, Goethe, Dumas, Hugo, Andersen, Ibsen, Verne, Service, Hesse, de Saint Exupery, rand, Solzhenitsyn, and Wiesel. Many of the selections are available in the Norton Anthology of World Literature, Vols. A through E, available at the public library, and the author gives the relevant volume where each selection can be found.

We have always struggled with drill-and-kill grammar in our home. I think the entire Analytical Grammar approach is fabulous and highly recommend it to the parents of all kinds of learners. It's a real winner!

Product review by Christine Field, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December 2009