| "A just and severe
censure has been inflicted on the law which prohibited the Christians from
teaching the arts of grammar and rhetoric."
- Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman
Empire. Vol. 1, N.Y.: Heritage, 1946, p. 686.
These are the books in the original
curriculum sequence. To jump right into KISS instruction, all you need
is a Level One workbook for the students (from the "doc" column) and its
corresponding teacher's analysis key (AK) book (for you).
The Grade-Level organization
has confused many people. You definitely do NOT want to do all the Levels
in every grade. The instructional materials in the sections of these books
are identical across grade levels; the differences are entirely in the
sentences (vocabulary) in the exercises. In other words, you can work in
any of the KISS Levels and then, in the following year, start at that year
in the next highest Grade Level.
For example, suppose you start
in third grade with Level One and get through Level 2.1.4 (Palimpsest Patterns).
Because the fifth-grade books are not complete, the next year you can start
at KISS Level 2.1.5 (Phrasal Verbs) in the sixth grade book. As of now,
many of the Grade-Level books are not complete, but the sixth grade books
are. Thus (unless other books are completed before you get to them), you
can simply continue, year after year, with the sixth grade books.
Someone once asked why I didn't simply make three sets--for primary grades,
for middle school, and for high school. My response was that many KISS
exercises are based on the writing of students at each grade level. The
new "Ideal Sequence" (also under construction) is specifically designed
as one sequence that begins in first grade and each grade builds on that.
Students' writing fits nicely in that sequence, so this sequence will be
modified to three sets of books (Primary, Middle, and High School) as suggested
The printable KISS books (the
"doc" links) are available as MS Word documents. 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
Level 1 (The Basic Concepts)
By the time they finish
this book, students should be able to identify most subjects, verbs, complements,
adjectives, adverbs, coordinating conjunctions, and prepositional phrases
in almost any text that they read or write.
Level 2 (Expanding the Basic Concepts)
In addition to addressing
most of the complexities of S/V/C patterns and of prepositional phrases,
this book adds three simple Level Five constructions: 5.1 Nouns Used as
Adverbs, 5.2 Interjections, and 5.3 Direct Address.
Level 3.1 - Adding Clauses (Subordinate and Main)
A clause is a subject /
verb / complement pattern plus all the words that chunk to (modify) the
words in the pattern. Students who have mastered KISS Levels One and Two
are therefore ready to comprehend (not just be taught about) the basic
types of clauses -- main, and the three primary types of subordinate clauses
(noun, adjectival, and adverbial). In addition, this book focuses on the
important question of embedded clauses (clauses within clauses within clauses).
Level 3.2 - Advanced Questions about Clauses
This book deals with
advanced questions about clauses that you probably will not find discussed
in most grammar textbooks. For students who have mastered KISS Level 3.1,
these questions are not very difficult. This book therefore includes four
Level Five constructions: 5.4 Appositives, 5.5 Post-Positioned Adjectives,
5.6 Delayed Subjects and Sentences, and 5.7 Passive Voice and Retained
Complements. All four of these have important stylistic implications. The
first three are not very difficult for students who have mastered the previous
KISS Levels. Passive Voice may require some time and attention.
Level 4 - Verbals (Gerunds, Gerundives, and Infinitives)
Plus KISS Level 5.8 (Noun Absolutes)
Verbals are verbs that function
as nouns, adjectives or adverbs. In KISS Level Two, students should have
learned how to distinguish verbals from finite verbs (the verbs that create
clauses). Having learned that, they should not have much trouble with this
book which simply deals with the finer points of the three types of verbals
(gerunds, gerundives, and infinitives). Students should therefore have
plenty of time in a school year to also master the final Level 5 construction
-- noun absolutes. Noun absolutes really need to be addressed last because
they consist of a noun plus a gerundive.