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Writing Guides, English Handbooks, and Style Manuals

Remember using Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition back in high school and Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style back in college? Each resource provided tips on grammar, usage, mechanics, spelling, and composition. Many students found these resources to be indispensable writing partners for essays and term papers. Writing Guides, English Handbooks, and Style Manuals all provide useful tools to students and professional writers alike. However, print copies are often out of date as soon as they are published. With commonly accepted guidelines in flux, the resources of the web are much better suited to the needs of today’s writers.

Constantly updated, The Pennington Manual of Style has been designed to serve as a complete writer’s reference guide (not merely a guide to citation formatting) for fourth-twelfth grade students and their teachers… with one major improvement over the old Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition and The Elements of Style: This style manual is fully interactive with 438 downloadable essay e-comments to make essay response efficient and comprehensive. Teachers can SAVE TIME GRADING ESSAYS AND GIVE STUDENTS BETTER COMMENTS with this resource. Plus, teachers are licensed to print The Pennington Manual of Style for each of their students and post this helpful resource on their own class websites. 

For studentsThe Pennington Manual of Style provides all the easy-to-understand writing tips to help developing writers learn what is good writing and why it is good writing. Students also learn what is wrong, why it is wrong, and how to fix errors. This 47-page manual is organized as follows: Essay Organization and Development (Introduction, Body, and Conclusion), Coherence, Word Choice, Sentence Variety, Writing Style, Format and Citations, Parts of Speech, Grammatical Forms, Usage, Sentence Structure, Types of Sentences, Mechanics, and Conventional Spelling Rules.

For teachers, this guide provides a common language of writing instruction and discourse to use when students submit paper or online essays. A download link inserts the entire 438 essay e-comments bank from The Pennington Manual of Style into the Autocorrect function of Microsoft Word® 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2013 (Windows XP, Vista, and Win 7/8/10 all work fine). Teachers simply select an essay e-comment, type in its short alphanumeric code, then click to insert it into a document for printing, into an e-mail, or into a Microsoft Word® comment bubble for an online essay. These essay e-comments not only identify errors; they explain how to revise the writing with clear definitions, explanations, and examples. It’s easy to add in personalized comments, even audio comments. Teachers will save time, yet do a more thorough job of essay response. Find out much more about e-grading here.

The essay e-comments have been derived from the author’s comprehensive essay writing curriculum: Teaching Essay Strategies and the Grammar, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)  Grades 4-8 program. Each curriculum uses the same language of instruction as does The Pennington Manual of Style.

The author of this article, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Grammar, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics and include sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

Grammar, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out the YouTube introductory video of the Grammar, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) program.

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