By Raelene Gorlinsky
Just my personal opinion, but not only do many schools do a poor job of teaching good writing skills, they make the whole subject boring and distasteful to kids. It frightened me when I walked into my son's classroom some years ago and saw a plethora of grammar, spelling and punctuation errors in the teacher-created signs and posters around the room. How many of those kids will be able to write a decent essay for a class assignment, produce quality work in college - let alone turn into the next generation of great authors that I want to read?
So, pending a complete restructure and modification of school curriculums and textbooks, you as parents (or grandparents or aunts/uncles or...) can start your young kids on the path to actually enjoying punctuation and grammar and such fun topics. How? Why, by reading them books that teach these things in a fun and interesting way! And, yes, such marvelous learning aids do exist. Here are a couple to get you started on showing your children the shining path to future bestsellerdom.
Eats, Shoots & Leaves - the children's picture book version of why commas really do make a difference! By original author Lynne Truss, illustrations by Bonnie Timmons
Blurb: "You might want to eat a huge hot dog, but a huge, hot dog would run away pretty quickly if you tried to take a bite out of him. [...] see how forgetting to include a comma or placing one in the wrong spot can completely change the meaning of a sentence--with hilarious consequences."
And then there's her companion book about apostrophes, The Girl's Like Spaghetti: Why, You Can't Manage Without Apostrophes.
Illustrates the shift in meaning precipitated by missing or misplaced apostrophes.
World of Language series by Ruth Heller
The first thing that wows you about these books, and will bring you back to them again and again, are the lush, incredible illustrations.
But they actually do teach parts of speech and sentence structure in a highly entertaining and memorable way. Your kids will LEARN from these.
Up, Up and Away : A Book About Adverbs
Many Luscious Lollipops : A Book About Adjectives
Merry-Go-Round : A Book About Nouns
Behind the Mask : A Book About Prepositions
A Cache of Jewels and Other Collective Nouns
Fantastic! Wow! and Unreal! : A Book About Interjections and Conjunctions
Mine, All Mine : A Book About Pronouns
Kites Sail High : A Book About Verbs