I’m still trying to decide how much grammar we’ll do next year and whether there’s even a chance that any of it will be formal. For first grade, we’ve just kept it really simple with the idea that reading and listening to books, as well as conversing together, was enough of a beginning for younger kids. As we write, we’ve been looking at punctuation, capitalization and a few other things, but not in any systematic way yet. In the last month or so, we’ve been doing a little more with it by introducing nouns, verbs and adjectives. Below are some of the resources we’ve used. In addition to these, we’ve also simply had writing assignments to “collect” various parts of speech and played some games trying to spot different types.
Using Mad Libs for grammar is hardly a new idea. Is there anyone who doesn’t do this? Still, it’s fun and leads to lots of giggles. I like how good it is at helping the kids begin learning to brainstorm for new words. You can find Mad Libs to do online several places, such as these where you click the words for younger kids and these or these where you type in words you want.
Brian Cleary’s Picture Book Series
This series on parts of speech is full of cutesy rhymes and cartoonish doodles of monsters. They’re pretty short and simple. They don’t go into any depth, but they have a nice vocabulary and were well enjoyed by Mushroom and BalletBoy. Plus, they cover many topics, such as synonyms, prepositions, and pronouns.
Ruth Heller’s Picture Book Series
This lovely picture book series is slightly longer than the Brian Cleary books, with a richer vocabulary as well. The colorful images are crowded with detail. The text also goes into some detail about the types of nouns, adjectives, adverbs and verbs. Mostly, however, these are just creative lists with some clever rhymes.
The other great resource for simple parts of speech is books intended for use by very young children. So, if you still have some around, dig out the board books. After all, what’s in a people house? Nouns! What are yummy and yucky? Antonyms! By far our best find in this regard has been the beautiful picture book Do! by Gita Wolf. This book, from artists of the Warli tribe in India has just one simple verb on each page along with a clean white on brown stick figure image illustrating it. We were entranced.
Schoolhouse Rock: Grammar Rock
Ah, good old Schoolhouse Rock. These are old, but still good. You can find most of them online these days. Here’s nouns, adverbs, verbs, conjunctions, pronouns, propositions, and interjections. Below is Mushroom and BalletBoy’s favorite: adjectives.