Singapore English

Update: has decided to stop offering the English materials, so, other than the copies we have left, these are no longer available.

It might seem funny to teach English using textbooks from Singapore. However, the instructional language in Singapore schools is English, and since their math textbooks are so effective, it isn't a stretch to think their English texts are written in the same creative, conscientious style. And they are—a variety of activities guide students through the whole grammar landscape, from building sentences to identifying parts of speech.

The Singapore English we carry doesn't represent a complete curriculum. The books are largely supplementary, though for elementary students there is probably enough material to give them a good headstart on a more comprehensive program. Different series focus on different aspects of grammar, making it easy to use the one you need to provide help where your student is lacking.

Grammar Skills (formerly Grammar Practice) is a series of six workbooks providing review-like coverage of a range of elementary topics. The books are intended to be used chronologically for students grades 1-6. There isn't much text, mostly just exercises, and there's nothing flashy—black and white with sparse illustration. But coverage is thorough and rather more advanced than most American grammar programs.

Sentences to Paragraphs is a four-book series designed to lay the foundation of good composition skills. Again, the series is for grades 1-6, and introduces students to clear sentence construction and the formation of coherent paragraphs. By reading good paragraphs, editing bad ones, and distilling information from larger sources to form their own, students learn not only how to write well but how to organize their own thoughts, the first step to excellent composition skills. 

The other offerings are a bit more haphazard. First English Grammar is a full-color introduction to basic grammar for elementary students, while English Grammar for Students is a textbook/workbook set for middle-grade students offering a more thorough presentation of similar material. Understanding Prepositions is a textbook devoted entirely to prepositions and their use, while Understanding Spelling offers systematic instruction on the how and why of English spelling.

While you could probably get by using only Singapore materials for your kids' grammar instruction, these work much better as supplementary options to accompany a broader curriculum. Be aware that some of these texts use exclusively British spellings, while others (including Understanding Spelling) incorporate both English and American spellings. Again, Singapore has demonstrated a knack for selecting some of the very best material in the subject, and we offer it whole-heartedly.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.


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