I am tutoring a 7th grader in English, and one of the things we are covering is sentence diagramming. I wouldn't have chosen this topic on purpose, but this student has had little experience with it and the new school she's attending in the fall will cover it in depth.
What's your take on diagramming sentences? Love it? Hate it? As a child, I didn't see the point, nor remember my teachers telling me why we had to do it. Researching for these lessons, however, has unearthed a bit of background info on why it is a good tool to help students learn. Not only does it help develop thinking skills, dissecting a sentence helps understand its structure, causing one to think analytically. The author of one grammar lesson I came across said that the exercise helped develop his critical thinking skills and caused him to analyze literature more thoroughly.
My thoughts? Well, I still don't do cartwheels over it, but I can see where it can be useful in the big educational picture. The grammar book we are using teaches that isolating the prepositional phrase first is a key step to breaking the sentence down into manageable pieces. This has taught my student to think before she attacks the sentence, so this is a good thing. I realized, too, that it's caused me to look more closely at what I read and write - at structure and how sentences work together.
What, if any, grammar exercises have you found helpful in your writing? When you read, do you mentally take things apart and analyze the writing? Do I have any volunteers for teaching sentence diagramming if I am unable to make a tutoring session?
Share your thoughts please; I have my pen and tablet ready to make a back up tutor instructor list...
Happy writing, and a happy weekend to all!