Shirley English is an English language arts program for grades 1 through 7 that covers grammar and composition. It does NOT cover phonics, reading, spelling, or literature. Children memorize jingles to learn some grammar basics. They learn a "question and answer flow" whereby they learn to attack sentences by asking exact questions to determine subject, verb, direct object, etc. Workbooks carefully present sentences with particular elements, adding questions to the "question and answer flow" as sentences become more complex. The combination of visual, verbal, and written activity helps children with different learning styles. Children become proficient in identifying parts of speech and their syntax, and they also learn proper usage (e.g., verb tenses), capitalization, and punctuation. Once children have mastered enough grammar, they begin writing, constructing sentences according to "formulas"—(e.g., article, adjective, subject noun, verb, adverb). From there they go on to paragraph construction and longer compositions.
This program is highly structured. Lessons are taught with continual teacher-student interaction. Students then complete worksheets or writing assignments from their workbooks. CD's present jingles and the question and answer flows for different types of sentences. The teacher's manual explains the methodology and offers useful teaching tips and some creative ideas.
Each grade level kit includes a teacher's manual, student workbook, and CD. Extra workbooks are available for additional students. Workbooks are NOT reproducible. You can combine students within a grade level of each other since there is quite a bit of repetition from year to year. I understand from someone who has used it extensively that you might even purchase only the sixth grade teacher's manual, then workbooks for each of the different levels since the methodology and concepts are repeated from year to year. You can begin to use this program at any level—you need not go back to level 1.
A supplemental student Practice Book is also available for each level. Practice sentences are provided in the teacher manual; the teacher must write them out for students before they can practice classifying the sentences. The Practice Book for each level saves teachers the step of recopying the sentences. Instead, sentences are grouped by lessons, and there is plenty of room to mark up sentences directly in the Practice Book.
Optional Practice CD's for each level recite the sentences and classification, actually serving as a sort of self-checking answer key. Practice Sets include both a Practice Book and Practice CD.