Books 3 - 5 Years6 - 8 Years9 - 12 Years

Collective Nouns And Other Grammar Gems

Written by Sheeba Manish

There is one ant, followed by another ant, which is followed by another ant. To the left is an ant, to the right is an ant. An ant stands ahead, with another ant in front of it. There is an ant here and an ant there, an ant can be found everywhere. You could simply say you can see an army of ants making their way across the path.
Whew! Thank God or rather the English language for collective nouns. There is a collective noun for anything you could possibly think of. The English language has a place for everything and everything looks good when it is in its place. Forgive me as I wax eloquently about this language that has given me endless hours of wonderment and fun.

Ruth Heller had the right idea when she wrote about collective nouns in her book A Cache of Jewels.

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 10_FotorA trained fine arts student from Berkely, Ruth paid her way through college doing secretarial work. Everyone knows that secretaries are  really the practitioners of grammar, the experts who made their bosses look good before spell and grammar checks.

Ruth loved reading to her children, especially Dr.Seuss. She set out to write a book for each part of speech in a way to engage and delight children. Her illustrations are rich and luscious and her choice of words divine. Grammar can never be boring to a child who has read and feasted her eyes on Ruth’s book.

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The young Ruth Heller. Image credit: http://www.sfgate.com/

On being asked if she drew first or wrote the words Ruth had this to say:

The first step is to decide what I am going to say on each page. Then I can begin to visualize my illustrations. The words dictate what the illustration will be, but that still gives me many options.Sometimes the two come together easily, sometimes not. If not, I pursue new research material until something clicks.

All my books are nonfiction picture books in rhyme. I find writing in rhyme enjoyable and challenging, and I think it is an easy way for children to learn new facts and acquire a sophisticated vocabulary. Children are not intimidated by big words. I try to make my writing succinct and allow the illustrations to convey as much information as possible.

Ruth often found the books that she read on Grammar very boring and confusing. Her intent when developing a set of books on the  parts of speech was to help children understand them.

A Cache of Jewels is a picture book with gorgeous illustrations and their companion collective noun. The book excerpt below will better explain what I am trying to say.

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The striking images burn the words into the mind. Ruth wrote delightful books on Adjectives, Nouns, Prepositions and Conjunctions among other things. You can take a look at the catalogue below and pick them up for little readers or yourself even!

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Kites Sail High: A Book About Verbs: Kites sail high; roses bloom; pelicans fly.

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 10.25.59 PMOnce again beautiful illustrations accompany the content to bring the concept home to young children.

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Mine All Mine: A Book About Pronouns:

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Tricky questions about him and he are anwered with perfect clarity.

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Behind The Mask: A Book About Prepositions: Heller’s brilliant book  on prepositions and how they matter.

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Ruth Heller’s trademark illustrations will delight little readers and drive home the point about prepositions.

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Merry-Go-Round: A Book About Nouns The book covers all kinds of nouns; common, proper and abstract with wonderful examples.

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King Arthur’s Camelot is used to show the proper usage of capitalisation between common and proper nouns. The qualities of the knights of the round table are recalled to explain abstract nouns.

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Fantastic!Wow! and Unreal: A Book About Interjections and Conjunctions

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Hurray! Super! Wow! and many more conjunctions are categorised in Ruth Heller’s book about interjections and conjunctions.

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Stunning visuals that will make the little reader gasp and clear explanations make this a wonderful grammar book to have.

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Up, Up And Away: A Book About Adverbs

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The dancers practice frequently.

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The house was painted recently.

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Many Luscious Lollipops: A Book About Adjectives

I particularly love adjectives. They make everything, well, better explained. A mousy man, swarthy hands, furry cat and so on, rather than the plain old man, hands or cat. Adjectives change everything.

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Followed by this…

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Heller takes Grammar rules by the horns and deals with them.

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Children struggle with parts of speech, sometimes even in the third grade. They will stumble to tell the difference between adverbs and verbs; nouns and pronouns; Heller’s set of Grammar books are a good place to start with to put Grammar fundamentals in place, particularly because they have examples that children can identify with and relate to easily. Furthermore, they visually link the words with the context. Many grammar textbooks are woefully wordy and technical and can be off-putting for many children. With her series of Grammar books, Heller resolves this too.

All images, except that of Ruth Heller credits, go to Amazon.com

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