My learners’ personal grammar books

By , June 29, 2016 7:56 pm


Here you will find a sample version of the grammar book that my colleague and I have produced for our learners.  Click on the image to open it.


For each topic the learners first see some examples in the unit materials. Then they do the grammar CHALLENGE and try to find a rule themselves. This works best if students work in pairs.

As soon as they have found a pattern or a rule, they call the teacher and whisper their hypothesis into the teacher’s ear. It is important that ALL students find their own rule. This may take some time, but it’s time well spent because the learners will struggle and work hard to form their own hypotheses.  Neuroscientists would call this “cognitive conflict” — it’s an important step in learning. 

Then the students do the “Now it’s your turn” part where they find their own, personalized examples.

The teacher corrects these examples to make sure the kids’  “personal grammar book” does not contain any mistakes and becomes their personalized reference grammar for English.

If you would like to get copies of this grammar book for your learners, send me a message to:

c r e a t i v e. l a n g u a g e t e a c h e r s @ g m a i l. c o m (You’ll have to type the address yourself — this is not a live link!)

In earlier years my learners produced their own grammar books in a regular notebook by adding the topics as we were going along. In these examples the kids were asked to come up with their own examples and rules,  and to draw a “logo” for each grammatical concept (notion). This drawing should help them understand the real meaning or notion that we were working on. In all these examples (old and new) we are following a MEANING into FORM approach. We start with the MEANING that we want to express and then choose the appropriate FORM to do that.

For example: I want to talk about my plans for the upcoming weekend — I need to use the going to form to do this.

I want to say how long I have lived in my house. I need the present perfect tense form to express this concept of duration.

Grammar is learned best when the students find the rules themselves and write their personalized examples. These examples from the learners’ personal lives will help link the new grammatical concepts and forms to the learners’ episodic memory and thus be stored in vast, multidimensional neural networks in their brains.

Have a look at a few examples of personalized grammar books written by lower intermediate learners.

clara-cover emily-cover
felix-cover rosa-cover


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