Grammar for the Real World

Superb grammar skills can lead to a job in the real world, but did you know that mastering grammar is also path to working for a Hollywood studio? This career route is the premise of Grammar for the Real World, an educational program aimed at students (fourth grade and up) and teachers. Despite its sober name, Grammar for the Real World teaches practical grammar skills through engaging, on-screen exercises based on language-related Hollywood jobs.

Climbing the Hollywood Ladder

The program starts in the parking lot of a Hollywood studio. With a blank resume in hand, you select a profession from a job board: commercial writer, proofreader, technical director, news assistant, or editor. Each job corresponds to a specific aspect of grammar, such as punctuation, sentence structure, and noun/verb agreement. As the program progresses and your grammar skills improve, you add experience to your resume and receive flattery and job offers from your agent. One such job may be starring in a doughnut commercial. About once every five jobs, you appear as a contestant on a game show. The game show drills you on punctuation, but isn't as interactive as it could be, because your opponent doesn't answer questions and you're not forced to think fast.

Proofreading Fine Print

True to its name, the program engages users in nontraditional grammar exercises: instead of forcing memorization through drill after drill, each exercise presents a simple, real-world job assignment. When you start a new job, your friendly, and sometimes eccentric, boss gives you instructions. As a commercial writer, you may sort through index cards of paragraphs about cat food and arrange them in a logical order to prepare a television ad or other type of advertising. As a technical director, you may correct verb tenses in a newscast and watch as your corrections are read aloud by a sparkling-toothed newscaster. Because the exercises are project-oriented rather than problem-oriented, Grammar for the Real World is captivating and relevant. Plus, all the content is intentionally wacky: the news headlines, for example, are absurd and laugh-out-loud funny.

For when you make mistakes, the Help button is always present on screen. Although the program is designed to supplement classroom work and includes activity suggestions for teachers, its design is appropriate for independent learning as well.

The Rewards of Good Grammar

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The TV show feature is endlessly entertaining and undoubtedly worthwhile as a means to master grammar and language. Grammar for the Real World provides teachers with an entertaining way to teach a usually dry subject and equips students with tools to master practical grammar skills while presenting an outlet for using the imagination.

Macworld's Buying Advice

Grammar for the Real World is easily one of the most inspired educational programs available. It casts a positive light on a typically dreadful subject by illustrating real-world uses for grammar and giving kids resources and a compelling reason to use their newfound skills creatively. The cost of the program for a single user is high but may be worth the investment if learning grammar is a personal priority. For groups, the cost is affordable.

Grammar Fan: In addition to teaching grammar, the program offers great entertainment value.

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