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It’s Grammar Week in AP English

 Sometimes I feel like AP English should be renamed AP Grammar.

My students’ reading, writing, and thinking have grown over the past two months, but unfortunately, their grammar remains horrific.

Therefore, instead of writing a new essay this week, I’m having students select an old essay to perfect. Their goal: Eliminate all errors.

This means errors of grammar, mechanics, usage, and conventions.

It’s a tall order: Right now, the average number of errors (in a typical two-page essay) is 25. (And that’s after revision!)

Having 25 errors in just one essay is going to prevent my students from passing the AP test in May. The graders will say, “Nice ideas. Too bad the errors distract me so much.” That’s why it’s crucial that I take class time to address this issue.

According to my students, there are three parts to the problem:

  • My students don’t take time to proofread. When their essay’s done, it’s done.
  • My students don’t know how to proofread. Even though I’ve given them tips, they don’t yet use those tips consistently. They see errors in others’ writing but not in their own.
  • My students’ sense of grammar is spotty. They may know the rules, but they have trouble applying them.

How do I fix this? I’m not sure. I’m trying a number of things: grammar lessons once a week, grammar tutors, writing mentors, peer reviewers, and Grammar Camp. It’s still not enough.

Do you have ideas? If so, please share! 

Please share your brilliant insights!