English Teaching: Practice and Critique

Grammar intertwined throughout the writing process: An “inch wide and a mile deep"

Volume 5 Number 1 May 2006

Constance Weaver (Department of English, Western Michigan University)

Jonathan Bush (Department of English, Western Michigan University)

Jeff Anderson (Rayburn Middle School)

Patricia Bills (Western Michigan University)

Drawing on theory and practice, the authors argue that, rather than trying to “cover” all grammatical skills, something traditionally done in many classrooms, and with limited results, teachers can more successfully teach less grammar with better results by focusing on key grammatical options and skills in the context of actual writing, throughout the writing process and over time. The article includes specific examples of teachers integrating grammar within writing instruction, as supported by theoretically and pedagogically sound practices. The article also presents a planning framework for teachers seeking to integrate grammar more effectively in their classrooms. Particularly emphasized is the value of using literature as a source for grammatical examples and skills. Sections also address specific adaptations for elementary writing workshops and the teaching of editing.