National Writing Project

Syntax at an Early Age: A Mother Challenges the Experts

By: Natalie Kramer
Publication: The Quarterly, Vol. 20, No. 2
Date: Spring 1998

Summary: A parent and tutor to her son, Kramer makes the case for systematic teaching and learning of sentence structures in the primary grades, a set of skills she believes get scant attention in American schools.



I have head many times that sentence structure is important, but you should "worry" about it only at the end of the writing process, during the editing and proofreading stages. Solid literacy instruction helps ensure freedom from "worrying" about sentence structure at all stages of the writing process. Writing correctly the first and every time can become almost second nature. Of course, editing and proofreading are still necessary because everyone needs a distance from a written piece to assess its strengths and weaknesses, but not because sentence structure concerns should be put off until the end.

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