Where does your child learn language? From you, of course. He learns to speak by hearing others speak, gaining a working knowledge of syntax, grammar and meaning largely by osmosis. Ruth Beechick calls this the "natural method" of language acquisition, and demonstrates in A Strong Start in Language how to extend these methods from spoken to written language.
When applied to writing, the natural method translates into dictation, copywork and lots of repetition, especially when the child makes too many mistakes in a composition or narration. It moves in a whole-to-part direction, teaching kids to understand the meaningful parts of language (words, sentences, paragraphs, etc.) before introducing formal grammar and specialized terminology.
By establishing the basics first, parents provide a good foundation for creativity—kids can't be creative until they have a firm grasp of how the different parts can (and ought) to be put together. Beechick offers content guidelines for the first three grades so you can be sure your kids are learning what they need roughly on schedule, with sample dictation lessons and ideas for using the Bible to teach writing.
Brief descriptions of the main approaches to spelling instruction are presented, though Beechick suggests holding off on intensive spelling until fourth grade. Until then, teach bits of spelling as you teach writing, bearing in mind that good spelling is fairly intuitive, requires the right attitude, and begins with good pronunciation.
Whether you use the natural method for teaching writing exclusively or not, this booklet includes many ideas easily integrated with whatever approach you decide to take. Everything Ruth Beechick has ever written about education is eminently practical, and A Strong Start in Language is no exception, showing you not only how to teach writing, but that you began the process when you helped your kiddo sound out her first words.
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.
Table of Contents
The Powerful Natural Method
What is the method?
Why is it better?
What are its results?
How do you use it?
With the natural method you can easily achieve the stated goals as any grade level. Primary grade goals are given here to help reassure you during these early years of your child’s learning.
What are the standard approaches to spelling? How can you borrow these ideas and integrate spelling into your other language teaching?
Read these. Try some. Then plan future lessons on your own.
Bible Sentences for Writing Practice
Graded from easy to difficult, these sentences provide practice in penmanship, spelling, and language skills, as well as deeper character building and spiritual values.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and 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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