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. The influence of books . . . . Sam Blumenfeld gives lessons


By: Frode Jensen

In our grammar, vocabulary, punctuation, and writing books, the fundamentals are stressed, and repetition is the key. Let's look at some examples.

In vocabulary the student learns a few basic roots and affixes and then uses them over and over in a set pattern. After time, the student automatically begins to recognize pieces of words, not only in the words in the book but also from random encounters from reading and listening.

In the punctuation book, at first only five basic rules are presented along with a simple methodology to see if one of the rules applies. These rules are practiced for a number of weeks with one new rule added each of the first five weeks. Once mastered, the student knows when and why to use a comma, a semicolon, or nothing when joining two complete thoughts together. After that, other basic rules are introduced and practiced.

Both our grammar books start with the basic parts of speech and recognizing them but also using them. Splitting the sentence into its two basic parts, subject and predicate, is taught early on and practiced constantly. Just being able to see where that split occurs helps solve many grammatical problems. Two more basics taught early on are how to recognize a prepositional phrase and learning the eight forms of BE and the twelve linking verbs. Those basics will unlock any sentence, and understanding the sentence is one key to good writing.

The format writing book emphasizes the seven formats of putting ideas together. Once the student grasps the seven methods, the rest is just a matter of figuring out which format best suits the content with which the student is dealing. A fellow with two graduate degrees once told me his work had been cut in half after coming to understand the seven formats. You can imagine the types of papers he was writing.

Teachers, tell your students to practice those fundamentals. They are the basics whether it is doing math or grammar or playing soccer. If you want them to get good at anything, you will have to give them the basics and help them master those basics with lots of practice.

To learn more about Jensen's Grammar, Vocabulary, Punctuation, Format Writing and Spelling click here.

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