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SPARC® for Grammar
Ages: 4-10   Grades: PreK-5

Students learn grammar through a progression of activities centered around meaningful scenes and pictures.  The scripted stimuli are especially helpful for eliciting target grammatical structures.

Outcomes

  • Learn pronouns, verb tenses, plurals, and question forms
  • Develop listening, storytelling, and thinking skills
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Busy clinicians rely on the SPARC series for:

  • convenience and portability
  • loads of pictures and practice opportunities
  • systematic progression of activities
  • no student reading requirement 

SPARC for Grammar includes 20 units, each targeting a specific language structure including:    

  • pronouns (I, he, she, they)
  • auxiliary verb (is)
  • third person regular (e.g., rakes, walks)
  • regular past tense (e.g., tripped, laughed)
  • irregular past tense (e.g., sat, bought)
  • possessive marker's (e.g., girl's, cat's)
  • possessive pronouns (his, hers, its)
  • copula verb (is)
  • regular plurals (e.g., bowls, bananas)
  • irregular plurals (e.g., men, feet)
  • interrogative reversals (is, are)
  • wh- questions
  • interrogative reversals (do, does, did)

Each 8-page unit has four pages of picture stimuli and four pages of written prompts for the instructor.  Six types of activities progress in difficulty and provide a wealth of opportunities for students to hear and use the targeted language structure.  The activities are:

  • identifying/repeating
  • identify targeted structures by pointing to pictures and/or repeating sentences
  • auditory bombardment
  • listen to and repeat sentences in response to questions, using a picture scene stimulus
  • following directions/answering questions
  • follow oral directions containing the targeted structure using a picture scene
  • what's wrong
  • practice new structures by identifying what's wrong in a picture scene in a different context than the previous scene
  • thinking skills
  • practice the targeted structure while responding to questions that require reasoning
  • storytelling/retelling
  • listen to, sequence, and retell a short story using the targeted structure.

Copyright © 1999

Components
165 pages
  • Students need to understand sentence grammar and whole-text cohesion.  They should learn phrasal and clausal structure and how to combine them to make complex sentences (National Curriculum for English, 2003).
  • SLPs should scaffold their instruction of syntactic structures to help students express complex thoughts coherently (Nippold, Mansfield, & Billow, 2007).
  • Students are unlikely to formulate and comprehend complex syntax unless such linguistic forms are included in their experiences and convey authentic, complex meanings (ASHA, 2001).
  • Sentence analysis is a vital skill in understanding language.  Developing sentence structures helps children understand the rules of grammar and how to interpret meaning (Grey, 2007).

SPARC for Grammar incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.

References

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). (2001). Roles and Responsibilities of Speech-Language Pathologists With Respect to Reading and Writing in Children and Adolescents [Guidelines]. Retrieved February 11, 2009 from www.asha.org/policy

Grey, D.S. (2007). Language in use. Cambridge, UK. Retrieved February 23, 2009 from www.putlearningfirst.com/language/06senten/06senten.html

National Curriculum for English. (April, 2003). Information flow: Sentence structure & importance. Retrieved February 24, 2009 from University College London Website http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/dick/tta/sentstruc/teach.htm

Nippold, M.A., Mansfield, T.C., & Billow, J.L. (2007). Peer conflict explanations in children, adolescents, and adults: Examining the development of complex syntax. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 16, 179-188.

Author(s)

Susan Thomsen, Kathy Donnelly

Biography

Susan Thomsen, M.A., CCC-SLP has been a speech-language pathologist for over 25 years and is currently Head Speech-Language Pathologist and Staff Development Facilitator for the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency in Clinton, Iowa.

Susan's interests are in the areas of beginning reading, language, academics and data-based decision making.  SPARC for Grammar is her sixth publication with LinguiSystems.  She is also author of SPARC Revised and co-author of other books in the SPARC series.

Kathy Donnelly, M.A., CCC-SLP has been a speech-language pathologist for 15 years and is currently working for the Kentwood Public Schools in Kentwood, Michigan.

Kathy's primary interests are the language basis of reading and data-based decision making.  SPARC for Grammar is her second publication with LinguiSystems. She also co-authored other books in the SPARC series.

Introduction

SPARC for Grammar is a wonderful resource for the speech-language pathologist, the special education teacher, the ESL teacher and bilingual teacher, and the regular classroom teacher and is particularly useful because it teaches children syntactic and morphological structures through a variety of listening and speaking activities in meaningful contexts.

SPARC for Grammar includes 20 units, each targeting a specific language structure.  Each unit includes six sections which provide a wealth of opportunities for students to hear, repeat, answer questions, and tell stories using the targeted language structure. The six sections are:

  • Identifying/Repeating
    Students learn to hear and identify targeted structures by pointing to pictures and/or repeating carefully selected sentences using nine pictures for stimulus.
  • Auditory Bombardment
    Students obtain additional awareness of the correct structure by listening to and repeating sentences in response to questions, using a picture scene for stimulus.
  • Following Directions/Answering Questions
    Students follow oral directions containing the targeted structure using a relevant picture scene.  This section provides more practice in using the structure to answer questions in a holistic context.  The True/False and Yes/No section provides additional opportunities to hear the targeted structures and reinforce critical listening skills.
  • What's Wrong
    Students practice the newly acquired structure by identifying what's wrong in a picture scene in a different context than the previous scene.
  • Thinking Skills
    Students use what was previously learned in the unit to solve riddles and practice the targeted structure.
  • Storytelling/Retelling
    Students practice listening to, sequencing, and retelling a short story using the target structure.

Here are some suggestions for using SPARC for Grammar.  Encourage your students to:

  • verbally complete or fill in the blank in a sentence about a picture
  • generate their own sentences or questions about a picture
  • create stories about pictures, with assistance as needed
  • copy a page for home practice with parents or guardians
  • cut out the story pictures and sequence the story
  • make story predictions
  • use pictures from SPARC for Grammar for game boards and flash cards

SPARC for Grammar provides a rich variety of opportunities for language learning.  See how many other new and innovative ways you can discover to use these fun activities!

Susan and Kathy