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Teaching Grammar

We have fallen in love with a very unique method of grammar, called the K.I.S.S. Approach and designed by Dr. Ed Vavra, a professor of English grammar at Penn College. We encourage you to visit his website and read more about the K.I.S.S. Approach at The K.I.S.S. Approach is available, free of charge, to any teachers who would like to use it, and considerable helps are available at his website. We are excited to announce that Dr. Vavra (and others) have compiled complete teaching schedules and worksheets at his website. You can read complete instructions and print out worksheets at

Before you visit his website and discover this simple method for teaching grammar to your children, let’s introduce you to the K.I.S.S. Approach. First, your objective will be that, by the time your children graduate from high school, they will be able to correctly explain how every word in a sentence grammatically connects to the main subject/verb pattern. We also want your children to learn how the brain processes what it reads in sentences, so that they will have an understanding of why some sentences are “better” than others. In other words, we want to help you produce students with a FIRM grasp of their language, who in turn can USE that language with confidence in their writing and speaking.

Dr. Vavra lists four unique characteristics of the K.I.S.S. Approach:

  1. Right from the beginning, students will work with randomly selected, “real” texts, rather than carefully constructed sentences designed just for a grammar textbook. This ensures that the students will learn how grammar works in real-life writing.
  2. This approach is cumulative. Students need to have a good understanding of prepositions (3rd grade) before they attempt to move on to sentence patterns (4th-6th grades). Each level builds upon the previous level. The cumulative nature of the approach ensures that students can identify the grammatical parts of a sentence easier, they get lots more review, and slower students will have plenty of time to catch up.
  3. This approach is sequential. Students will follow a definite sequence as they search for the various grammatical parts of a sentence. Following the definite sequence is the key to success! In addition, studies have shown that students will retain an understanding of grammar much better if they study it one aspect at a time, over many years, rather than trying to understand all the parts of speech in one year and then having to apply that understanding for the rest of their days.
  4. Students are expected to be able to identify in a text ALL of the parts of grammar they have mastered to that point. Rather than permitting our children to understand only 70% of the grammar they learn (would we permit that in our surgeons?), we encourage you to aim for the goal of 100% understanding!

Following Dr. Vavra’s research and recommendations, we don’t advise beginning formal grammar instruction until third grade. If you have older children, we highly recommend that you back them up to Level A (3rd grade) as well, even if you don’t need to spend quite as long reinforcing the concepts before they’re back up to “grade level.” However, if you have the luxury of starting all your children in Level A in 3rd grade, then the following is Dr. Vavra’s recommended sequence through the levels. (Click the links to read more specific advice on teaching each level.)

Note: We recently discovered some problems with our files for Levels B and C. We will try to get these corrected as soon as possible! (10/15/08)

Level A – 3rd grade

Level B – 4th, 5th, 6th grades

Level C – 7th, 8th, 9th grades

Level D – 10th grade

Level E – 11th, 12th grades

Finally, one of the best features of the K.I.S.S. Approach is that you’ll only need to spend four or five hours per YEAR discussing grammar. This translates into talking about one sentence a day, every day, every year. Most homeschooling mothers with many children to teach are practically dancing for joy at this news! In addition, with only a few exceptions, you can use the SAME sentence to teach grammar to all of your children, from 3rd grade through high school! You can choose these sentences from a favorite book you’re reading, from the newspaper, from the Bible, and from many other possibilities, or you can use the worksheets available from Dr. Vavra’s website.

We’ve never met a more practical, natural, yet more thorough method for teaching English grammar. We hope that your family will become a group of “Grammar Nerds” with a passion for effectively communicating for God’s glory!

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  1. Deanne Hack says

    I just printed the schedule for level B and I can’t figure out where the worksheets are….B1 through B35. I would love it if you would email me back about where to get these!

  2. Anne Elliott says

    Deanne, we had computer trouble a couple years back and these files were corrupted. (This post was originally written back in 2003!) I never took the time since then to re-make them. However, I do have hard copies of them that I’ve used with my own children. Let me try to get them done this summer, okay? I’m adding it to my to-do list right now. I can’t promise! But with God’s help, I’ll sure try. It’s such a nice and easy way to teach grammar.


  3. Donna Brennan says

    I printed Level A and intend to use it with my 3rd grader. I would also love the worksheets for the other levels as well. Do levels D and E exist as well? Thank you for this very helpful information.

  4. Anne Elliott says

    Hi, Donna,
    Yes, they do exist… but they’re also on my old computer… the one that crashed… AACK!

    I’ll do my best to get them back online, as soon as we possibly can. 🙂

  5. Catherine Wiess says

    I am so excited to have found this site and to be able to use this program with my boys. My kindergartener has a few years before we will start him but I will start my 4th grader with level A this year. It is hard to find a curriculum that teaches grammer like this. I may even learn a thing or two! I will be looking for your updates.

  6. Catherine Wiess says

    I should have typed “grammar”….not “grammer”.

  7. Anne Elliott says

    For anyone who is interested, I’m adding “new and revised” grammar worksheets at For instance, I added the first 9 weeks of Level A tonight. (I’ll keep working on the rest of them. I know several of you are wanting to use these this year.)


  8. Deidra Roberson says

    Hi Anne,

    Count me in on wanting to use your grammar worksheets…these look terrific. I have level A and answer key A. I just need Level B worksheets whenever u get them done….thanks soooooooo much for sharing these!!!!


  9. Hi, Love reading your articles, Great stuff, very helpful and timely – thank-you so much. I am wondering if the 3rd grade Teaching Grammar Level A is available to download?, Cheers

  10. Hi, Christine,
    I am sorry that they’re not, but we’re updating all of it, hoping to release it for sale spring 2012. You are welcome to “test” it free of charge until then at


  11. Hi Anne,

    This is a great website and I’m very interested in your level C worksheets to suppliment my 8th grade daughters grammar – are they available?? Thank you for you posts and help!

  12. Diagramming a Bible verse or part of a Bible verse from the days reading is a great way to practice grammar.
    Diagramming the Scriptures is a great book for teaching diagramming. Diagramming is also a great way to put a verse in the memory. This book is available from major book sellers like Christian Book and Rainbow
    Resource. Another language arts option is using AcreSoft Bible Based Language Arts notebook pages. These are great for practicing grammar, vocabulary, and creative writing based on the Bible. or

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