3 Simple Ways to Teach Grammar That Actually Sticks


I recently saw an article describing people who point out grammar errors as ‘jerks.’ This made me laugh because many times, it’s teachers who are sick of seeing the same grammatical errors day in and day out. We get sick of it, so let’s focus on how we can teach grammar skills so students can make fewer grammatical errors in the time we have with them. 

I’ve taught grammar to a lot of different students; struggling writers, special education students, and gifted students, and they’ve all struggled. So, I’ve come up with three great strategies to fit grammar into daily lessons that students will actually retain and use in their writing.

3 Simple Ways to Teach Grammar

1. Bite-Sized Lessons

Bite-sized lessons focus on skills that my students are really struggling with, and I use them throughout the week. I’ll spend five days on a particular bite-sized skill. We’ll learn a little about the skill and practice it for 10 minutes a day. 

We will also keep the notes on each lesson, so students can access all the work they’ve done learning the skill. 

Here is a breakdown of the bite-sized lessons done throughout the week:

  • Day 1. Review the grammatical rule and model it for students in context.
  • Day 2. Use a guided approach where students can work independently or with partners. 
  • Day 3. Review the grammar concept and have them do more independent work. 
  • Day 4. Allow students to review and share their work.
  • Day 5. Do a review and assessment if I feel they’re ready. If they’re not ready for an assessment, I’ll use the day for extra practice. 

We’ll continue to touch on the skill throughout the year. This is a great way to introduce skills so students can use and practice them in future writing. 

2. Daily Spiral Grammar 

These lessons take 5 minutes or less. They allow me to work with students on all the different grammatical concepts we’ve already learned about and practiced. It is a great way to practice the skills and editing constantly. 

I give students these warm-ups before writing time or whenever I can fit them in throughout the day. This is a great way to spiral a lot of grammatical skills and have your students receive constant practice with them. 

If you are interested in trying this in your classroom, I have a whole month of Daily Grammar Practice you can download for FREE.

3. Teach in Context 

The third strategy is to help students retain grammar skills in-context learning. For example, when you teach students to write a body paragraph or plan out their writing, you can naturally incorporate some grammar concepts. 

For example, suppose you notice students struggling with run-on sentences; incorporate that into writing your paragraph. As you teach them the structure of a paragraph, intentionally make mistakes that you can catch together. Have your students help you identify the run-on sentence and how to fix it.

It only takes a few extra seconds but allows you to naturally show it to the students in a way that helps them catch it in their writing process.

By putting all three of these strategies together, students will understand how to use grammar in their writing, how the grammar skills work, and where to get help if they need it. In addition, they will have their notes and resources from these lessons and discussions. 

These strategies take around 20 minutes a day and can even be done three days a week or as you have extra time in your ELA block. To help you save time, check out my resources to help you teach grammar.


April Smith

Curriculum Writer and Online Professional Development Coach. 


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