on Effective Reading of a Reference Grammar
Over the years, I’ve
heard a number of students comment about how hard reference grammar books
are to read. It’s true. If they are not read in the right
way, reference grammars can be terrifically hard on a reader.
A reference grammar
is a reference tool. None of them is written to be read straight
through like a novel—or even like an article in the TESOL Quarterly
or the TESOL Journal.
However, read in
the right manner a reference grammar becomes an invaluable tool for an
So, what’s the “right
Effective Reading of the Longman Grammar
I recommend the following
for Two Purposes
First look through the chapter—and read the headings. Make a few
notes for yourself about the overall content of the chapter.
Pay special attention to the figures and tables in the text. Also, read
their examples closely. Often you can better understand their explanations
by starting with the examples and the charts and tables and then going
back to the explanations.
Go through the PowerPoint overview in the WebCT site for
our class. Have the book in hand while you go through the slides
and think about the information in the book. The slides are written
to help you understand the grammar in the assigned reading.
Then, read the chapter in several sittings—one chunk at a time.
Make notes about questions you have. Go back to that chunk again
later to see if it is making more sense the second time around.
Do the quiz set that goes with the chapter. They are on the web at http://www.gsu.edu/~eslhpb/quiz.
Because information is given to help people who give wrong answers,
you might even benefit from deliberately selecting wrong choices to
see how feedback can be given in web-based quizzes. Remember you are
learning about how to teach on the web as well as about English grammar!
You need to read
for information. But you also are reading to become familiar with
this resource so that it will be available to you later in your teaching
career. I’ve also found that knowing how to read one reference grammar
prepares me to read in another reference grammar. So, I’m hoping
that you will not just be learning new content or new ways of talking
about familiar content but that you will also develop skill at using this
reference tool and others like it.
And always remember
that you can email me when you have questions. My address is firstname.lastname@example.org