Old Fashioned English Language Skills – Reading & Writing – De-emphasized in Public ED; But Still the Path to Academic & Professional Success

By George Scott

Project Director, Academic Equity Advocates * PAID ADVERTISING


Correct grammar usage. Which is it?

  • Old fashioned; needless waste of time; not worth the effort?
  • A skill set that will help your child the rest of his or her life in a work environment or higher education.

A key goal of Academic Equity Advocates is to help parents help their children succeed in public education, with a particular focus upon English Language skills otherwise summarized as reading and writing.

It is important for AEA to make this statement before the substance of the products are discussed.

Any notion that what we write is hyper-critical of classroom teachers is not true. The harsh reality is the modern student testing and formal accountability systems have had a profoundly negative impact upon classroom teachers’ ability to focus intently on such important curriculum issues as basic skills in writing. That is a fact that classroom teachers know well.

Bottom line? Are you worried that your child or teen (with particular focus on 5th through 9th grades) CANNOT WRITE grammatical sentences?

That question raises two serious concerns you may have:

  1. You may feel worried that you are not qualified to tutor your child yourself.
    • You MAYbe correct on this concern.
  2. You may be worried that the public school system is de-emphasizing correct writing enough for your child’s future success – professionally or academically.
    • You are ABSOLUTELY CORRECTon this issue.

The harsh reality is that most classroom teachers are discouraged from methodically teaching and practicing correct writing skills. The overwhelming priority of students “passing” the various States’ accountability tests and the academic compromises that imposes on the delivery of once-vital instruction as a lower priority has been pervasive.

Public school systems may de-emphasize the importance of correct writing. University professors and employers do not.

  • College professors are often aghast at the poor writing skills of college freshmen. That translates for significant percentages of these students to additional tuition costs to take remedial courses
  • Employers are even more aghast including those who hire in STEM fields.

Consider this from the Harvard Business Review (Kyle Wiens, July 20, 2012)

“After all, grammar has nothing to do with job performance, or creativity or intelligence, right?… Wrong. If it takes someone 20 years to notice how to properly use “it’s”, that is not a learning curve I’m comfortable with…I will pass on the programmer who cannot write property…”

However, the news is not all discouraging. Consider this:

  • Once mastered, the rules of grammatical writing are mastered forever.
  • The student who has mastered grammatical writing has an incredible advantage over the student who has not.

That is where AEA’s collaboration with Junior High ELA Resources on the independent website of Teachers Pay Teachers can pay huge dividends for your child. An “old-school” ELA teacher with over 25 years of successful efforts has written some 200 instructional lessons, practices, and tests targeting the 5th to 9th grade academic years.

These lessons include ones on writing and grammar as well as significant additional lessons focusing upon reading and comprehension skills from grade level to more advanced. All of these lessons can be purchased individually or in bundles of lessons at discounted costs.

Classroom teachers from throughout Texas and across the country have used these lessons for about a decade for students in their classrooms. Parents can use them as well as a tutoring or support activity for their children.

The directions and guidance are ‘user-friendly’. If any practices or quizzes are included, an answer key is also provided.

Here are some direct links to the specific lessons the Junior High ELA Resources homepage These and many more will give you valuable insight into exactly how helpful these products could be to help your child achieve genuine grade-level skills and even more advanced.


Apostrophes Power Point – Teach Possessive Apostrophes the Easy Way! (teacherspayteachers.com)

Conjunctive Adverbs as Transitions: Grade 8 and HS: Print/Digital (teacherspayteachers.com)

Run-on Sentence Lesson with Numerous Practices by Junior High Ela Resources (teacherspayteachers.com)

Apostrophes – Teach Them the Easy Way by Junior High Ela Resources (teacherspayteachers.com)

Capitalization – 8 Most Common Capitalization Rules Made Simple | TPT (teacherspayteachers.com)

Subject-Verb Agreement: Complete Lesson with Practices, Quiz | TPT (teacherspayteachers.com)

Combine Sentences Correctly into Compound/Complex Sentences for Essays and Tests (teacherspayteachers.com)

Revising and Editing – Tip Sheet, 2 Passages and 15-question quiz (teacherspayteachers.com)

There are dozens more of such lessons that can help you help your child succeed and advance academically. The reality is that in today’s modern ELA classroom, teachers have much less flexibility than ever to really concentrate on such basic skills.

In that situation, your child’s deficiencies carry over the high school year.