Page numbers refer to the second edition.
What is Hands-On English?
Hands-On English is a handbook that
provides quick access to English fundamentals
(grammar, usage, capitalization, punctuation,
spelling, vocabulary, reading, and writing).
It can be used by people 9 years of age or
older. Hands-On English can serve as a
textbook when studied systematically; it can
serve as a handbook for years afterwards.
For what age student is this program intended?
Hands-On English covers curriculum through the eighth grade.
It assumes no prior knowledge in grammar, usage, capitalization, or
punctuation. It, therefore, includes the most basic concepts -- those
studied by first or second graders -- as well as fairly sophisticated
concepts. Hands-On English was originally written with fourth,
fifth, and sixth graders in mind. It has also been used in adult
education programs -- and for every age between. Most students would
not use Hands-On English as their own handbook much before
fourth grade. The book could serve as an excellent resource for
parents and teachers of younger children, however -- especially if
they are teaching parts of speech. Many activities in the program
could easily be adapted for use with younger students.
How do students practice the concepts presented
in Hands-On English?
The 154 reproducible pages of the Activity Book provide practice on the concepts
presented in Hands-On English.
Separating the information from the exercises
makes it easier to find.
Are the answers to the exercises available?
Yes, a readable Answer Key is included at the
back of the Activity Book.
You say that Hands-On English and the
Activity Book are for students in grades 4-8.
How can these two books provide five years of
Most language arts series devote much time
and space to review, spending relatively
little space on new material. Information in
Hands-On English is presented only
once. Some review is incorporated in the
Activity Book. Sometimes it is designated
as review; other times familiar material is
subtly reviewed as new material is presented.
How do I know whether these materials are
appropriate for my child?
First, look at the books. If your child is
still working to master these concepts -- or
if you want your child to review them,
Hands-On English and its related products
will provide a fresh approach that integrates
language arts activities.
Do Hands-On English and the Activity
Book provide a complete language arts
program, or do I need to supplement with
Hands-On English and the Activity
Book provide everything you will need for
grammar, usage, capitalization, and
punctuation. They can easily become the basis
for individualized programs in vocabulary and
spelling. While the Activity Book
provides opportunities for developing
sentence-writing abilities and exploring a few
genres, you will want students to do more
writing than the Activity Book assigns. Work in the content areas might present
Although the books provide good information for reading
efficiently and for responding to literature, the literature
itself is not included. You'll find many supplementary resources
on the GrammarAndMore website, particularly in the
LinguaPhile index and on
the book and
link resource pages.
How do students use Hands-On English to
Building a personal vocabulary file, as
recommended on page 106 of The Activity
Book, and studying the morphemes presented
on pages 109-117 of Hands-On English
will create an individualized and relevant
How do students use Hands-On English to
Spelling exercises in the Activity Book focus on major
rules and frequently misspelled words. This study can effectively
be supplemented with
words the student needs for writing --
high-frequency words that are posing problems
and/or words from various content areas. The
student collects these words in a personal
spelling dictionary, explained on page 98 of the Activity Book.
If spelling presents a special challenge for
your child, you might focus on phonic
patterns. Studying the morphemes in
Hands-On English will aid spelling as well
as vocabulary because students will be
spelling in meaningful units rather than by
How do I know what to do each day?
Headings on pages of the Activity Book
indicate correlated pages from Hands-On
English. Teacher's Notes, included with
the Answer Key at the back of the Activity
Book, provide suggestions for using some
of the open-ended pages.
Should I start at the beginning of the
Activity Book and go straight through?
That's one possibility. The Suggestions
for Sequencing suggests pages you might want to use
early in your course of study -- and others you might want to
postpone if you're working with younger students. Still another
possibility is to use the pages prescriptively (letting
children's reading and writing needs guide your choice of topic).
Whichever sequence you use, these skills are so interrelated that
there are bound to be times when you need information about one
skill when you're in the midst of another. The books'
cross-referencing will direct you to the information you need.
The Activity Book now comes with an Alternative Sequence
that integrates skills and shows how pages can easily be spread
over three years.
How long will it take for my child to complete
This depends on many things -- for example,
the amount of knowledge your child begins
with, how quickly your child assimilates
information, how much time you spend on
It is recommended that students complete two to three pages of
the Activity Book per week. They should spend the bulk of
their language arts time in actual reading and writing. Students
for whom the information is already somewhat familiar may well
complete the program in a year. Younger students are likely to
take at least two years.
What should my child do for language arts after
completing the Activity Book?
Once students have mastered these concepts,
they can more effectively spend their time
applying them by reading, writing, and
speaking rather than by completing worksheets.
Concepts in the Usage, Mechanics, and
Communicating Ideas sections will be
sufficiently reviewed with their continual
use. You might want to review grammar concepts
informally, occasionally presenting a sentence
and asking your child about parts of speech or
sentence patterns. If the student does not
have a firm grasp of these concepts, you might
provide additional practice.
For formal language arts study after
completion of the Activity Book, books
in the 7th to 9th grade range are recommended.
Although a few new concepts would be presented
in the 7th and 8th grade books, strong
students would probably do fine with a 9th
grade book, where those new concepts are
reviewed. Students for whom language arts is
more difficult would probably be more
comfortable with a 7th or 8th grade book.
What is Hands-On Sentences? Do I need
Hands-On Sentences is a card game that provides practice
with parts of speech and encourages students to write more
sophisticated sentences. Requiring students to apply the various
grammar concepts they've studied, helps them internalize
concepts. Hands-On Sentences also enables family members
of various ages or students of varying abilities to participate
What is Hands-On Icons? Do I need that?
Hands-On Icons is a set of enlarged
icons that represent parts of speech and
sentence patterns. Although the icons are
included in both Hands-On English and
the Activity Book, you might find the larger icons helpful
-- especially if you're working with younger children or with a