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August 23, 2015
Why Every Student Deserves to be Taught with a KISS-like Approach to Grammar
Welcome to the
KISS Grammar
Irene Cahen 
The Kiss List What's New?
What KISS Is -- And What It Is Not

     Note: Everything on this site is free: there are no materials for sale. Many of the documents on this site are now being made in MS Word. If you do not have MS Word (or a program that can open these documents), go to the Microsoft site where you can get a free reader that will let you open and print them, or you might want to find and try the free "OpenOffice" software on the web.

Why I Like KISS Grammar  From Dione and Dominique (Thank you.)
Other Comments from Users of the KISS Approach
The KISS Difference The KISS Grammar Game
Using KISS Instructional Materials

     Instruction with KISS can begin as early as first grade, or in college. This site cannot possibly include specific materials organized for all of these sequences. In addition, the site was started around 2003, and since then it has grown. There are, therefore, parts of the site that need to be revised or condensed. The following descriptions of the two best curriculum sequences should help you decide which you want to use. 
     Before turning to them, however, I want to emphasize that the KISS objective is students' mastery of the materials. Both sequences include mid-term and final "Assessment Quizzes." Simply looking at the students work, however, may tell you that you can skip many exercises.

The "Grade-Level" Workbooks

          The instructional materials and the number of exercises in each section are identical across grade levels. The difference is entirely in the exercises. Some people want to begin KISS with first graders, and others start in fifth, ninth or other grades. Second graders cannot deal with the vocabulary in A Tale of Two Cities, and ninth graders do not appreciate exercises based on Bunny Rabbit's Diary
     The instructional materials in the sections of these books are identical. You can begin in any of the KISS Levels and then, in the following year, start at that year in the next highest Grade Level

An "Ideal" Sequence for
KISS across Grade Levels

     Whereas the "Grade-Level" books are designed to have a complete sequence for every grade level, the idea sequence starts at first grade and has only one set of exercises. 
     The real advantage of this sequence will be that it clearly puts emphasis on what we know about natural syntactic development. Research shows that students really begin to use subordinate clauses around seventh or eighth grade. Students can, of course, understand them even before they go to school. In this sequence, we can begin to teach students how to identify clauses in third grade. 

For additional options and instruction materials, click here.
The Teachers' Reference to KISS Grammar
Constructions, Codes, and Color Keys [MS Word document.]
     This is an expanded version of the original KISS "Toolbox." It briefly explains all the KISS concepts (with short examples), constructions, levels, codes and color keys. 

What KISS Is -- And What It Is Not

      Most approaches to grammar cover individual constructions (subjects and verbs, for example), give students a few simplistic exercises, and then ignore subjects and verbs to move on to another construction. They never put all these constructions together such that students can understand how sentences work. KISS, however, is a group of carefully designed sequences of instructional materials and exercises in which students build on what they have previously learned. Ultimately, the KISS sequqnces can enable students to identify and discuss the function of almost every word in anything that they read or write. Along the way, KISS enables students to understand major questions of errors, style, and logic. Along the way, it addresses major questions of errors, style, and logic.

     Originally, KISS materials were organized into five "levels" that more or less follow the way in which these constructions naturally develop.

Level 1. The Basics: simple subjects, verbs, complements (predicate noun, adjective, direct and indirect objects), adjectives and adverbs, compounds, and prepositional phrases

Level 2. Expanding the Basics: The complexities of S/V/C patterns and of prepositional phrases. (These are generally either ignored or glossed over in most textbooks. The result of that is that students cannot apply what they have learned to their own writing and reading.)

Level 3. Clauses (Subordinate and Main): An understanding of clauses is one of the most important things that students should master.

Level 4. Verbals: Verbals are verbs that function as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs, as in Swimming is good exercise. In Level 2, students are taught how to distinguish finite verbs (that make clauses) from verbals. In this level, they learn more about verbals per se.

Level 5. Eight additional Constructions: Three of these (Nouns Used as Adverbs, Simple Interjections, and Direct Address) are easy to understand, but they are not required for students to understand the constructions in Levels one to four. The other five are most easily learned after students have mastered KISS Level 4. They are appositives, post-positioned adjectives, delayed subjects and sentences, passive voice, and noun absolutes.

As KISS was being developed from real, randomly selected texts, complications were found that are not addressed in most textbooks. As a simple example, "to" can function as a preposition ("to the house"), or it can function as the sign of an infinitive ("to go"). This confuses students, so KISS devotes exercises to such complications, exercises that you will not find in most textbooks. Over the years, these complications became sub-levels in the original five.
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* Although I am somewhat embarrassed to note it, you may find grammatical and spelling errors on this site. I do my best, but I teach five sections of Freshman composition/Introduction to Literature every semester. As a result, I often have to rush to get something onto this section of the site, or I have to drop it before I would like to, so that I can prepare for my classes. That is not a good excuse, but it is, I hope, justification for a plea for help. Someone once sent me an e-mail to tell me that she found several spelling errors "on the site." The "site," however, consists of several hundred documents, and if I take the time to reread/edit all of them, I will have even less time to respond to questions, etc. If you find an error, please send the page to me . It will be even more helpful if you tell me what and where the errors are. Thank you.