I’m not a fan of grammar books. In fact, they confuse me no end with all those technical terms such as inchoative verbs and protasis. As a teacher of English, I’ve always advised my students to hone their linguistic skills by listening, speaking, reading and writing. We can learn another language just as we learnt our mother tongue: by using the language rather than learning its grammar.
However, I have had to teach grammar sometimes as part of the academic courses. I’ve tried my best to make the grammar teaching sound as light and interesting as possible by avoiding jargon as far as possible and focusing on exercises that are relevant to the students’ day-to-day life. Traditional grammar teaching would be the most boring part of language learning for most students. And yet, having said all this, I must add that some knowledge of basic grammar always helps us to master the language.
During my recent visit to Delhi, one of my ex-colleagues presented me a set of grammar books she authored. They belong to a series titled English Skills, Grammar and Composition published by Vishv Books, Delhi. The books for classes 6 to 8 are written by S. K. Manimekalai, English teacher in one of the reputed schools in NCR.
A lot of sincere hard work has gone behind the production of these books. Each topic is covered extensively and systematically. For example, the chapter on Determiners in the class 8 book covers articles, possessive determiners, demonstrative determiners, distributive determiners, numeral and quantitative determiners and interrogative determiners. Each category is explained very lucidly with appropriate examples and even illustrations where necessary. Then there are exercises which will reinforce the student’s learning.
The books are well designed and the layout is very appealing. The level gradation for each class is planned very carefully too so that whatever a student learns in class 6, say, is reinforced with more knowledge and skills in the next class, while some new topics are added too.
In spite of my inborn rebellion against canons and rubrics, I found the books interesting. They are eminently useful for young students who wish to gain mastery over English.