Despite helpful classroom materials and programs employed by educators all across classrooms, schools continue to find that not all students are successful in writing. Many schools districts in recent years have allocated considerable amounts of funding on writing programs intended to enhance curriculum and increase writing scores. Although each has its merits and is an appropriate instructional aid for the classroom, the Return on Investment for such programs is greatly enhanced when first utilizing the foundational and systematic approach offered by NOW! Grammar and Writing®.
NOW! Grammar and Writing®is based on a program developed by Dr. Ann Alexander, founder of The Morris Centre Trinidad and Tobago, in an attempt to fill the gap between reading sentences and interpreting the meaning of those sentences. What makes NOW! Grammar so vital is that it is a program which brings back systematic exploration of grammar (parts of speech and sentence structuring) and supplements expressive language. We found that children with dyslexia often have a hard time understanding what the most important pieces of a sentence are and subsequently have a difficult time imaging sentences. NOW! Grammar also is used as a precursor for addressing writing.
As implied in the name, this program is also multi-sensory. It brings together several modalities: auditory, visual and kinesthetic. The client discovers the role of individual words in a sentence, and colored blocks provide a visual association for that role. (For example, a green block represents an action verb.). As it brings back systematic exploration of grammar (parts of speech and sentence structuring) to the classroom, the beginning portion of NOW! Grammar supplements expressive language through visualization skills and kinesthetic manipulation designed to facilitate writing instruction. Clients systematically learn to identify parts of speech and analyze how specific words are utilized in a sentence.
Students build a foundation literally from one-word sentences (verb only):”Run!” and advance incrementally to two-word sentences (Subject / Verb): “The cat sat.”. Students continue to higher-order concepts such as phrases and clauses [prepositional, appositives, infinitives, participles, gerunds, conjunctions, etc] “Benjamin Franklin, whom we know best for his political activities, was also a scientists and inventor; his inventions are still used around the world today.”
With this increased awareness of the mechanics of a sentence, the client is better able to understand and produce written language. The client is then ready to apply visual imagery skills to begin analysis of paragraphs and essays. The NOW! Grammar therapy continues to a higher level with the discovery of the parts of a paragraph and finally an essay. At this level, the student is learning semantic mapping/webbing in order to create paragraphs and eventually essays.
Students quickly progress to planning, dissecting, and writing paragraphs while systematically fine-tuning their structure and content. Younger, primary-aged students explore organization, planning, and mapping across content. Students at the intermediate level and above do not stop there but transition from paragraph to essay in a systematically designed fashion to facilitate the writing process while supporting students’ critical thinking skills related to expressive language. NOW! Grammar has various anchor charts of support materials (A Writing Toolbox) to help students move toward autonomy as well as supplemental scripted materials to support students with difficulties in expressive language.
Your child will not just memorize the parts of speech; they will discover what each part means, how each part functions in a sentence, and how each part adds to the overall meaning of the sentence. Once your child is able to break down and understand what he or she is reading, an accurate mental image can then be created and stored away in the child’s brain for future use.