3 great grammar resources for teachers

Tim Miles

Tim is the Editor of the Innovate My School Magazine. Before joining Innovate, he worked for five years in the software industry, occupying every role from tea-making technical support specialist to programmer and project director. He writes about a range of subjects, including education, technology, history and religion.

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Sample questions from the Government's new “back to basics” grammar, spelling and punctuation test for 11-year-olds were released this week.

Here are three superb literacy-related resources for all teachers - whether they're looking for a way to improve pupils' punctuation, a refresher course on comma conventions, or some intriguing information about where grammar came from and why it matters.



1. "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips" website

Mignon Forgarty, otherwise known as Grammar Girl, maintains and writes for this site, which contains tips and guidance about writing. She and other contributors frequently (though, as literacy buffs will note, not always regularly) post articles about common grammatical errors, usage, style, idiom, word choice, etc. Though most posts are written by Americans, the website generally mentions British English alternatives when necessary. The site's archive is particularly useful for those who are uncertain about a convention, and for anyone with a general enthusiasm for writing accurately and effectively.


2. “Technology, Literacy, and the Mind” lecture video

This fascinating lecture by the psychologist Marilyn Jager Adams covers the history of literacy - from cave paintings in 30,000, through Chinese pictograms, Sumerian logograms and the invention of punctuation. In explaining why each development occurs and considering its relationship to the human mind, Adams shows that reading and writing are as important as ever.


3. "Practice English Grammar 1*" app for Android and IOS

Yes, it's a shame about the name. But appellation aside, this is an excellent app, boasting an abundance of grammatical advice, tests and articles. In fact, the abundance is almost a plethora: the large quantity of content means that finding the topic or test you're looking for can take a little while.

Links to app: Android, iPad, iPod touch & iPhone

* Two versions of this app – Practice English Grammar 1 and Practice English Grammar 2 - are available for Android (the first for beginners, the second for intermediate learners). In the Apple App Store, I could only find a Practice English Grammar 2.

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