The Common Core Grammar Toolkit: Using Mentor Texts to Teach the Language Standards in Grades 6-8, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Common Core Grammar Toolkit

Using Mentor Texts to Teach the Language Standards in Grades 6-8, 1st Edition

By Sean Ruday


174 pages

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Paperback: 9780415739771
pub: 2014-04-28
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The Common Core’s language standards can seem overwhelming—students need to learn specific, complex grammar rules at each grade level. The Common Core Grammar Toolkit to the rescue! This comprehensive guide makes grammar instruction fun and meaningful.

You will learn how to…

• Teach the Common Core’s language standards for grades 6–8 by presenting each grammar rule as a useful writing tool.

• Use mentor texts—excerpts from great literature—to help students understand grammar in action.

• Promote metacognition along the way, so that students become responsible for their own learning.

The book thoroughly covers how to teach the Common Core’s language standards for grades 6-8, on topics such as understanding intensive pronouns, using commas to set off nonrestrictive clauses, maintaining consistency in style and tone, forming verbs in different moods, and much, much more. You’ll learn how to present each of these grammar rules to your students as tools that will help them improve their writing. You’ll also find classroom snapshots that show the tools in action, and handy, reproducible charts that you can use with your own students.

Bonus! The book includes a free annotated bibliography, which is offered as a Supplemental Download on our website. The bibliography lists high-quality young adult literature and gives examples of key grammatical concepts found in each work, so you can use additional mentor texts with your students.


"I love this book! It is definitely the right book at the right time for middle school teachers. The Common Core Grammar Toolkit provides clear explanations of each standards-required grammatical concept using exemplary mentor sentences (my favorite part!) plus practical tips for helping students apply these concepts to their own writing (my other favorite part!). This is a perfect text for helping teachers achieve the goal of teaching grammar in the context of writing instruction."

--Elizabeth Dinkins, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Literacy and Language Arts Education, Bellarmine University, KY

"By couching grammar instruction in the context of good writing and using high-interest mentor texts, this book actually made me excited to teach grammar! I gained a deeper understanding of the standards myself, and thanks to the classroom snapshots and recommendations, I feel confident that I can implement this same engaging instruction in my own classroom."

--Jennifer Wilson, Middle School English Teacher, The Field School, Charlottesville, VA

Table of Contents

Introduction “Grammar Tools”: Helping Middle School Students Understand the Importance and Uses of Grammar

Section One: Grammatical Concepts Aligned With Grade Six Common Core Language Standards

Chapter 1 Understanding the Impact of Intensive Pronouns

Chapter 2 Achieving Clarity with Proper Pronoun Case

Chapter 3 Using Punctuation to Set Off Nonrestrictive Elements

Chapter 4 Maintaining Consistency in Style and Tone

Section Two: Grammatical Concepts Aligned With Grade Seven Common Core Language Standards

Chapter 5 Using Simple, Compound, Complex, and Compound-Complex Sentences

Chapter 6 Using Phrases and Clauses while Recognizing and Correcting Dangling Modifiers

Chapter 7 Choosing Language that Expresses Ideas Precisely and Eliminates Wordiness and Redundancy

Chapter 8 Distinguishing among Connotations of Words with Similar Denotations

Section Three: Grammatical Concepts Aligned With Grade Eight Common Core Language Standards

Chapter 9 Explaining the Functions of Verbals

Chapter 10 Forming and Using Verbs in the Active and Passive Voices

Chapter 11 Forming and Using Verbs in the Indicative, Imperative, Interrogative, Conditional, and Subjunctive Moods

Chapter 12 Using Punctuation to Indicate a Pause or Break

Section Four: Putting It Together

Chapter 13 Assessing Students’ Knowledge

Conclusion Final Thoughts and Tips for Classroom Practice


Appendix Reproducible Charts and Forms You Can Use in

Your Classroom

Annotated Bibliography Examples from Young Adult Literature Used in this Book

About the Author


Sean Ruday

Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

Learn more about Sean Ruday >>

Sean Ruday is an Assistant Professor of English Education at Longwood University and a former classroom teacher. He frequently writes and presents on innovative ways to improve students' literacy learning.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Teaching Methods & Materials / Reading & Phonics
EDUCATION / Teaching Methods & Materials / Language Arts