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August 23, 2015
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 Every Student Deserves to be Taught with a KISS-like Approach to Grammar
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
     The organization of the Grade-Level books has its disadvantages. Perhaps the most important is that they inadequately account for natural syntactic development. Our sentences naturally grow and become more complex as we ourselves grow. (For more on this, click here.) In completing the sixth grade workbooks, I realized that an equal emphasis on each level is too constricting. Therefore I turned my attention to an "Ideal" sequence (described in the column to the right).
     Another disadvantage (for me) is that the grade-level books originally entailed about ten times as many exercises as the "Ideal" set will--every grade would have a complete set of exercises for KISS Level 1 (above).
     Finally, for example, the sixth-grade books are not meant to be completed in sixth grade. They contain far too much instruction and exercises because they are meant to pick up at the point at which students reached in their previous years studying KISS.
     That brings us to one of their advantages. Students can begin KISS (at Level 1) in sixth grade--with sixth grade materials.
     Their second major advantage is that they include a middle school (6th grade) complete set. I have been asked if people should start KISS and take a chance that the site will disappear. The complete sixth grade "Grade-Level" includes all the major concepts that students need to know. People who worry about KISS disappearing can simply download the set of printable sixth grade books.

An "Ideal" Sequence for
KISS across Grade Levels

     "Ideal" is in quotation marks because what is ideal for some students is not so for others. In this sequence, most of the constructions in Level 1 (above) are introduced and probably can be mastered in first grade. Although students will be expected to build on what they previously learned, the basics of Level 1 are not included in books for later grades.
     The disadvantage of this sequence is that only the first grade book is complete. I hope to have the book for grade two complete before September 2015.
     The plan for these books is to have approximately 60 analysis exercises each year until the students have completed the entire KISS sequence. Students should probably do two five-to-ten-minute analysis exercises per week. As long as the students understand that they are expected to learn, teachers do not need to grade the homework. The assessment quizzes at mid-term should give teachers a sense of what they need to emphasize for the rest of the year.
     These "Ideal" books, however, are being designed to include many more exercises on reading, writing, vocabulary, and logic. For example, the seventh grade book (and those following it) will introduce students to fallacies. Fallacies are reasons for believing--or not believing--what other people write or say.
     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. 
     They will continue to identify them in analysis exercises, but in seventh grade, this sequence will put a lot of focus on manipulating clauses with both sentence combining and de-combining exercises and with exercises on the logic of subordinate conjunctions.
     See the "Introduction" for more information to this sequence.

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.