Reviewer # 4Review of KISS Grammar (You'll Love It)
Let me start by saying I can't quite identify what kind of book the
author wants this to be. As a
First, the introduction opens with a cloze exercise, alludes to the
grammar debates, and gives me a
I need one or at most two-page introduction that tells me what exactly
what KISS is and why my
On a personal note, I was really bothered by the Jesus joke as an opener.
First, you will offend
On a more personal note, I would be SOOO grateful if you would find
a new word to use in the
I would also make Chapters One -- Three into appendices or addendum
to the KISS material. The in-depth analysis of the theory and of the studies
is interesting, but I don't need to read them to use KISS. If I want this
support, I'll find it. Just tell me it's at the back and get to the meat
Chapter Four was fascinating. I'm not sure where it belongs, but it
is necessary to understand the
Chapter Five again got too theory-laden for
me. I don't need to know the three definitions of the
Chapter Six -- this chapter starts out well. The questions are good ones. (I do think that the response to the standards question is long and too specific. The author could put the specific state standards and his criticism of them in another appendix and help the flow of the chapter.) The author also gives more examples than he needs to -- the discussion of the prepositional phrase examples only slows down the text flow and is meaningless unless the reader understands ellipsed prepositions (and might scare off those who don't -- many teachers don't have a clear grasp of grammar to start with). The questions act like a teaser for KISS, but I still don't know what KISS is. If you want to use the questions, answer them in a lively, straightforward manner. Save the lengthy examples for somewhere else. Note that this chapter doesn't lead into the KISS curriculum; it only leads into an overview of exercises.
Chapters Seven is useful, but I think it would benefit by being rewritten
by grade and either
For each level, make suggestions for implementing these exercises. In other words, how would a third grade teacher modify these exercises? An eighth grade teacher? Could each exercise have a page with bulleted adaptations for use at different levels? Teachers are usually exhausted. To read these and adapt them for nine grade levels is a lot to ask. Even though I find it a great section, I have to stop and think how I'd use it in my classroom. If I'm overwhelmed with test preparation for mandated tests, it's easier to use the grammar workbook provided by the state. Give us more reasons to use this wonderful program by making it easier on us! Also, I don't understand the exercises coming before the curriculum. Tell me what these are for before you give me the extensions. [?]
In Chapter Eight, the author is telling the teachers what to look for and ways to help with recognition, but he has knit two ideas together that I don't understand. The analysis, differentiated by grade, is wonderful, especially with the tips on what to expect from each group, but then we suddenly see modeling -- with many long examples. Why writing analysis of students' writing as a way to see where the students' writing is flows into a discussion of grammar teaching through literature confuses the reader. Teachers need more information like the first half of the chapter. How do I analyze my students' writing? What is the norm? What does it mean when a child is markedly different in various constructions from the others in the same class? How do I remediate that? When is it a sign that there may be something else going on that might need special educational attention? Etc. Again, though, I don't understand why this isn't part of the KISS curriculum discussion. Why we teach what when is fundamental to the KISS program -- which we haven't seen yet.
The teaching and learning through literature modeling really is a totally
different matter, and would
Chapter nine suffers from the same problem. KISS should show our students
how to analyze language. As they have learned how language functions, they
should use it to improve their writing
Chapter 10 and Chapter 11 -- I don't understand the presence of these
two chapters, given that the program is detailed in Chapter 12 (and I object
to the smoking joke on principle in material for
It's not until Chapter 12 that we actually see what the KISS program looks like in a classroom. We've gone through theory, justifications, exercises, games, teaching grammar through literature, improving writing through grammar, overviews, and we are only now seeing what KISS is. It's a wonderful program, one that I'd love to use in my school. But it's buried in the back of the book, and only a determined teacher would persevere this far.
Addressing the question of language, tone, and style, the author appears to be a very learned man who has a lot to offer in the field of grammar. It would almost be better to have two distinct sections to the book -- curriculum and exercises, and theory and defense. I also have expressed my preference for much briefer discussions -- bulleted lists, more spare language, and less depth in the areas aimed at classroom practices. Save the "academic" discussion for the second half of the book. I certainly don't want to reduce the author's book to a Scholastic 8.5 X11, but overworked and harried teachers need help first and a source for the underpinnings as they have time to read it and/or defend it. The writing style is also (to use a phrase from chapter 9) rather "stuffy," and could use lots of pruning.
I also found the continual admonishments to consult the website to be
jarring and unfortunate. I
Although the KISS approach has much to commend it, I would not be able to understand KISS the way the book is organized. I probably wouldn't read past chapter two. Tell me why my students and I need this program, tell me what the program is, tell me what I need to do to implement it and assess it, and put the rest in the back of the book. I'll read it on a need-to-know basis, and in the mean time, I can teach my kids to analyze their language.
The fact that the author cares very deeply about his work and is very
familiar with the field comes