Cathy Duffy Reviews home > Composition & Grammar > Elements of Language

Elements of Language

Publisher: Holt, Rinehart and Winston
Review last updated: September 2010
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Elements of Language

The Elements of Language series is the newest version of a series I loved titled Elements of Writing. Both incorporate principles of language learning developed by John E. Warriner. However, the title of each series indicates a difference in emphasis. The older series built from a base of instruction in composition skills, incorporating grammar instruction as needed within that context. The new series is typical of many other traditional language arts texts, divided into three sections: 1.) grammar, usage and mechanics; 2.) sentences and paragraphs; and 3.) communications. The texts do add composition activities at the end of each grammar chapter to incorporate at least one concept from grammar they have just studied. And composition lessons include “Grammar Links” to work on particular grammar skills. While I really liked the Elements of Writing series, the Elements of Language series is just okay, but nothing special.

More than half of each text is dedicated to grammar, but you need not complete all these chapters. Since these texts are targeted at grades 6 through 12, I would expect that students at these levels—especially the last few years of high school—should already have a good grasp of grammar. While you can use the chapters in order, the Teacher's Editions include options for working primarily from the composition chapters, incorporating grammar and mechanics lessons as needed. It makes sense to me to use this approach and spend more time on composition and communication skills. The texts are hefty—871 pages in the 6th grade (Introductory Course) and 1200 pages in the 12th grade (Sixth Course). So if you decide your student needs minimal work on grammar, there is still more than enough material for a complete course.

These texts cover the broad range of language arts including, for example, research and writing research papers, public speaking, analyzing and writing about literature, and creative writing. Cross-curricular activities are suggested such as creating an editorial cartoon and researching and writing about a science topic (from the sixth grade Introductory Course).

One feature I really like in these texts is the frequent inclusion of writing models by both published authors and students. Models give the student concrete ideas of how they might accomplish each assignment. At the back of each book is an extensive handbook plus a “Diagramming Appendix” with brief lessons and exercises for those who want their students to learn sentence diagramming.

Homeschool course packages include the hardcover student text plus a Teacher One Stop™ DVD-ROM. Even with a digital TE, the courses are still quite expensive, but the DVD has loads of extras in addition to the Teacher’s Edition: reproducible/printable worksheets (including vocabulary worksheets and answers keys equivalent to a supplemental workbook), tests, answer keys, possible lesson plans, software for creating puzzles, and teaching transparencies, plus other extras. Even more resources are online at the publisher’s website.

If you consider the comprehensiveness of these courses and can really use all or most of the elements (grammar, vocabulary, composition, and other communication skills) then they might be an excellent investment.

Pricing

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  • Elements of Language: Homeschool Package Grade 12 Sixth Course

    Elements of Language: Homeschool Package Grade 12 Sixth Course

    HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT

    Elements of Language: Homeschool Package Grade 11 Fifth Course

    Elements of Language: Homeschool Package Grade 11 Fifth Course

    HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT

    Elements of Language: Homeschool Package Grade 10 Fourth Course

    Elements of Language: Homeschool Package Grade 10 Fourth Course

    RINEHART AND WINSTON HOLT

    Elements of Language: Homeschool Package Grade 9 Third Course

    Elements of Language: Homeschool Package Grade 9 Third Course

    RINEHART AND WINSTON HOLT

    Elements of Language: Homeschool Package Grade 8 Second Course

    Elements of Language: Homeschool Package Grade 8 Second Course

    RINEHART AND WINSTON HOLT

    Elements of Language: Homeschool Package Grade 7 First Course

    Elements of Language: Homeschool Package Grade 7 First Course

    RINEHART AND WINSTON HOLT

    Elements of Language: Homeschool Package Grade 6 Introductory Course

    Elements of Language: Homeschool Package Grade 6 Introductory Course

    RINEHART AND WINSTON HOLT

    Instant Key

    • Suitable for: independent or group work
      Audience: grades 6-12
    • Need for parent/teacher instruction: minimal to moderate
      Prep time needed: minimal to none
      Teacher's manual: essential (on DVD-ROM)
      Educational philosophy: traditional
      Religious perspective: secular

    Publisher's Info