Saturday, July 23, 2011

Practice Grammar and Recommend Books

A few months ago, I suggested using Captain Underpants as a grammar exercise in the classroom.

That got me to thinking... why stop there?  Why not create your own misspelled, grammatically incorrect grammar exercises that are at least slightly more interesting than generically-made practice books and worksheets?

Further, why not kill two birds with one stone?  Book recommendations are a good way to get kids interesting in reading and writing.  Many teachers assign book reviews so that students can share their independent reading material with the rest of the class.  Other times, teachers recommend books themselves to entice students to read.

Why not combine interesting grammar practice with the need for book recommendations?

Create a list of books you know will interest your students.  You probably already have several that you know from experience go over well with students.  Peruse your school and public library.  Also, check book recommendation sites like, which allows you to pinpoint specific titles when you search by reading level and genre.

Next, write a short review for the book.  Since you're trying to get them to read it, highlight the positives about the book.  Sell it to the kids!  Make it sound interesting.  Include a few grammar errors and spelling mistakes in your review.  By creating your own reviews and purposeful mistakes, you can focus on specific skills that you are covering in class.

Finally, allow students to read and correct the reviews you have created.  You are giving them a chance to practice grammar, and you are also encouraging them to read the book you've recommended!  They get to learn about what may be a great book for their interests, which is much better than the stuff kids are usually told to edit.

Make the book reviews unique.  Recommend books of all types and genres, including fun fiction, graphic novels, scary stories, mysteries or something that you may want them to read for class.  

You have a ton of possibilities with this activity.  You can certainly assign students to make their own "mistake-filled" book reviews for others to check, once they get the hang of how it works.

Don't be surprised if you see me making a few of my own examples and posting them here for your use!

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