“There is a satisfactory boniness about grammar which the flesh of sheer vocabulary requires before it can be come a vertebrate and walk the earth.”
At the heart of Rainbow Grammar is a simple idea – that colour can be used to expose the underlying structure of sentences so that children can see how they work, imitate these patterns successfully and apply them in their own writing. Now, using colour to understand sentences is nothing new, but the unique way that Rainbow Grammar does it make is such a powerful techniques for understanding and writing sentences.
Rainbow Grammar identifies eight sentence building blocks and assigns each a colour. Children learn their names, their key features and how they can be joined together to build sentences.
Three of these form the core of almost all sentences in English.
The monster cried all night. His pillow was soaked with tears.
Children learn how to build upon this simple structure, using the full range of Rainbow Grammar colours, which represent an increasingly sophisticated range of sentence elements in a wider array of patterns.
All night, the monster cried.
Because he wanted his teddy, the monster cried all night.
The monster cried into his pillow, which was soaked in tears.
Eventually, children are able to build elaborate multi-clause sentences which express complex ideas.
Because he wanted his teddy, the monster, who lived under Jimmy’s bed, roared miserably each night, huddled in his favourite blanket.
Along the way, children learn about the organising words that join and link ideas together, each year group with its own set of organising words to tech and learn. For example, in year 5:
linking adverbs: besides, for example, in fact, similarly, still, therefore
subordinating conjunctions: as, now that, unless, until, whenever, wherever
relative pronouns: that, which, when, where, who, whose
At the same time children learn about the eight word classes that make up the sentence they are building, and how they can improve the internal structure of the eight Rainbow Grammar elements. For example:
Y1 adjectives (size): The huge monster roared in the forest.
Y2 proper nouns (places): The huge monster roared in Sherwood Forest.
Y3 nouns (precision): The huge ogre roared in Sherwood Forest.
Y4 adverbials (duration): The huge ogre roared in Sherwood Forest throughout the night.
Y5 adverbs (frequency): The huge ogre often roared in Sherwood Forest throughout the night.
Y6 adjectives (compound): The huge thistle-furred ogre often roared in Sherwood Forest throughout the night.
From this small sample of Rainbow Grammar objectives, it is easy to see how children’s ability to develop richer sentences filled with wonderful vocabulary grows alongside children’s grammatical understanding.
With the a 135 page Rainbow Grammar curriculum guide and a resource toolkit provided free of charge with the training, there are no additional resources to purchases. Everything you need to get you started with Rainbow Grammar is included.
Rainbow Grammar is a uniquely rigorous and logical approach to developing grammatical understanding that improves children’s writing, and is fun too.
To find out more about Rainbow Grammar, do take a look at these blog posts:
effective grammar strategies
Effective Grammar Strategies provides you with a toolkit of quick-to-plan and simple-to-deliver techniques for teaching grammar that clearly demonstrates how the English language works and how grammatical choices create and enhance meaning when writing. You will learn each strategy – how to teach it, and how to adapt it to support different aspects of the national curriculum grammar content and for children of differing ages and abilities.
The training includes a practical exploration of each strategy; each one is clearly demonstrated with opportunity to practice the technique to help to develop your teaching of grammar. And along the way, you’ll refine your grammar subject knowledge too.
The strategies covered include, but are not limited to:
- example or non-example: a simple assessment strategy to help children to identify and distinguish between nuances in grammar
- change one thing: by only changing a single element of a sentence, children are learn to clearly discern the effects of grammar on meaning
- missing words: cloze procedure for grammar which helps children to see how grammatical choices effect sentences in context
- sentence extension: a powerful strategy to move children from simple sentences to compound and complex patterns
- cut & move: an effective strategy which shows children how sentence can be moved around to create different effects
- punctuation thief: a systematic way for children to identify and correct missing punctuation
Often children struggle to apply the grammar they have been taught in English lessons. They seem to understand adverbs when taught them, and they can construct sentences using relative clauses when that is the focus, but when they sit down to write an extended piece, those techniques simply don’t appear in their writing.
Embedding Grammar shows you how to ensure that this doesn’t happen with your children. With the right approach, your children will deeply understand grammatical concepts, and well-structured sentences will become a habit when writing.
You will learn how to structure a grammar teaching sequence that works with all grammar content and with children across the primary age range, moving through several key phases:
- sentence analysis: looking under the hood of sentences to see how the engine of written language works
- sentence construction: writing at sentence level to build technical accuracy
- reading as a writer: looking at how writer’s use grammar to shape meaning, create clarity and cohesion, and to affect the reader
- modeled writing: demonstrating how writer’s apply grammatical understanding when they write
- composition: children apply the taught grammar to their writing
- review: analysing how well grammatical techniques have been applied to their own writing and making improvements
And you’ll learn how five minutes of daily practice leads to deep understanding and the ability to write a range of accurate sentences with ease.
Sentence Combiningis one of the most effective ways of improving the range of children’s written sentence structures. In it’s simplest form, take a number of simple sentences and combine them into a single sentence without changing or losing the meaning.
The Greek army besieged the city of Troy. The Greek army battered at the walls in vain.
might be combined in a variety of ways:
The Greek army besieged the city of Troy and battered at the walls in vain.
Battering at the walls in vain, the Greek army besieged the city of Troy.
As they besieged the city of Troy, the Greek army battered at the walls in vain.
Sentence Combining shows you how to combine sentences in a systematic way moving first into compound structures, then onto complex patterns. And children hone their skills beginning with combining two sentences, increasing the number until they become ever more confident to compose rich multi-clause patterns. In doing so, they learn how to write and punctuate a wide array of sentence patterns, learn how co-ordination and subordination works, and begin to think about curriculum content in ever more complex ways.
The training also shows how you can use sentence combining techniques to write better paragraphs, and as a powerful tool for revising written work.
And for those of you using Rainbow Grammar, you can learn how to use sentence combining with the Rainbow Grammar colour system.
Rainbow Sentences shows you how to use the Rainbow Grammar system to create sentences that add flair to writing. Building upon the existing Rainbow Grammar colour system, it helps children to compose eloquent sentence patterns that stand out.
Use co-ordination to incredible effect:
The snowflakes whirled on the winter wind and twirled on soft breezes, danced through crisp skies and drifted onto a blanket of white.
Unleash the power of the fronted adverbial:
On a windswept moor, in a thicket of twisted trees, behind a moss-covered rock, Silus cowered.
Manipulate non-finite clauses to create awesome multi-clause patterns:
The acrid fog slowly advanced, creeping into shadowed gardens, slithering beneath bolted doors and skulking through sleeping houses.
Draw your reader in through the use of carefully crafted adverbial clauses:
When the sun sank below the horizon, when darkness settled like a shroud, when silence slowly stole across the land, the Others came.
And discover many more amazing techniques, using the Rainbow Grammar system that your children already know, making the patterns easy to pick up and embed within their writing.
A supporting booklet shows you how to use each technique in a variety of ways in different types of writing with children of differing ages.
Super Sentences shows your children how to write sentences that grab the attention of the reader and make them want to keep reading.
Taking its cue from the ancient Greeks (who discovered patterns that made sentences striking and memorable by playing with word order in creative ways) these sentence patterns – tried and tested over centuries – add flair and finesse to writing of any genre and with any subject content.
You will be guided through almost twenty techniques: how to construct each and how to use it within different writing types – powerful patterns such as:
…and in the dim light he made out the shapes of men. Dead men.
A rippled rose from the surface of the lake. The ripple became a wave, the wave became a raging whirlpool, and the whirlpool became a furious tsunami.
epistrophe (here with elaborative diacope)
The floor of the cage was layered with blood. The walls of the cage flowed with blood. The humid air reeked of thick blood.
And then, rising from the ground, spreading its wings, its vividly coloured feathers of orange and flame scarlet sparkling in the sunlight, a magnificent beak opening to release a piercing shriek, the bird burst into flames.
Writing samples are from Year 6 children at Chetwynd Primary Academy, Notts.