Publication Date



This study explored whether presenting grammar instruction within the context of reading and writing would improve writing skills. The participating schools were using a traditional grammar instruction in which grammar lessons were predominately taught using worksheets and were presented separately from other reading and writing activities. This was termed Discrete Grammar Instruction (DGI). The researchers introduced a contextualized grammar instruction approach, termed Embedded Grammar Instruction (EGI), which taught grammar within authentic contexts of reading and writing. Students in grades three through eight were assigned to either the EGI group (N = 164) or the DGI group (N = 156). Two subtests of the Test of Written Language- Third Edition (Hammill & Larsen, 1996) were given at pre- and posttest: Sentence Combining, which is a measure of grammatical complexity, and Contextual Conventions, which is a measure of written conventions (i.e., punctuation and capitalization). Following six weeks of instruction, the EGI group outperformed the DGI group on sentence combining ability, but no statistically significant differences were observed between the groups in use of contextual conventions. The results suggest that teaching grammar in context yields improvements in written grammar following a very short period of instruction and merits further exploration.