professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Woe is I, the junior version

After a day of rest, I loaded up the car again and drove to Arlington, only 200 miles from home, to present an all day workshop tomorrow for secondary ELA teachers. So, it seemed fitting that I read WOE IS I JR. by Patricia O'Connor this afternoon. O'Connor has written a grammar handbook for grammarphobes for adults. Here is her offering for younger grammarphobes. I think ELA teachers will find this book incredibly useful for classroom use. The language is relatively free from grammar-speak and the text and examples maintain a light, humorous tone. Basic, yet essential, elements such as proper use of pronouns, making verb tense choices wisely, and common sense punctuation rules are given their own chapters. O' Connor eschews the educationalese (though she does include them for kids who wish to impress their parents) and this alone should dispel some of the fear that arises when grammar is intoned in the classroom.

While I do not see too many kids pick this up to read, I do think parents and teachers would do well to use the book as a launching point for instruction. EATS, SHOOTS, AND LEAVES by Lynne Truss remains my favorite nontraditional grammar book for older teens and college students and adults. WOE IS I JR. could just work some of the same magic for younger readers.
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