Super Grammar: 2013

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Super Grammar Highlights of 2013!

Hi everyone,

With 2013 wrapping up, we can't help but take a look back at our first year as a published book. There are a few stand-out highlights, and we thought it would be fun to share them with you.

Our first highlight was a review by blogger Myles McDonnell on his blog: You know, for Kids. This review was especially cool because Mr. McDonnell wrote it based on the way his son, a second-grader (at the time), responded to Super Grammar. Before reading this review, we weren't quite sure whether Super Grammar's teaching format would be effective for a second-grader. But after reading it, we now have our answer! Have a look:

Our second highlight is a two-parter. On her Mommy Maestra blog, Monica Olivera shares her valuable experiences and knowledge about homeschooling her two kids in a bilingual setting, and this is what made her review such a super stand-out for us—it was written from the homeschooler's perspective! Check out the fun and creative ways that this homeschooler put Super Grammar into action for her kids:

Also, it turns out that, aside from blogging, Mrs. Olivera also writes articles and is a regular contributor to NBC Latino's website (among others), and this is where this turns into a two-part highlight for us. If you'd like a glimpse into why two artists decided to make a book about grammar, take a look at this interview:

Our last highlight is a big one for us! In their recently published article, Read like a Professor, Write like a Superhero, the School Library Journal calls out a specific list of books for being "models of good literature" and also for helping students meet with Common Core State Standards—and Super Grammar is at the top of the list! We are absolutely honored to be on this list, but what really makes it a special highlight for us is the fact that Super Grammar is now officially recognized for teaching English grammar in a way that meets with these specific Common Core State Standards:
CCSS L.3.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. 3.1a. Explain the function of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in general and their functions in particular sentences.

CCSS L.3.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing. 3.2c.Use commas and quotation marks in dialogue. 3.2d.Form and use possessives.
We're very grateful for this acknowledgement, and we're more than pleased to end our first year as a published grammar book on such a good note. Here's the article:

We hope you all had a great year, too. And if you have a Super Grammar highlight for the year that you wouldn't mind sharing with us—please send it our way—or leave us a comment. We'd love to hear about it!

As always, thank you for your super support, and may your sentences always be strong!

All our best,
The Super Grammar Team

I hope you don't mind, but I (Tony Preciado, Super Grammar's author) would like to add my own personal side note here about the Mommy Maestra blog. You see, I am a parent (I have a wonderful three-year-old daughter who is growing like a super weed), and as a first-generation Mexican-American, I am also bilingual: I speak both English and Spanish. Now, as you might have already guessed, having a strong and clear understanding of English grammar is super important to me. That said, I also very much love that I can speak, read, and write in Spanish (I think of it as one of my superpowers), and I very much want to pass this ability on to my daughter. Anyway, if you're a parent like me, or a homeschooler, or a teacher who is looking for fun, creative, and insightful ways to help your kids or students learn both English and Spanish, I would highly recommend stopping by Mommy Maestra. I have found it to be a wealth of information on the subject.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Have a Super Holiday!

Good citizens,

We hope your holidays are action packed and full of superhero goodness. Keep fighting the good fight, and may your sentences always be strong!

Best wishes,
The Super Grammar Team

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Happy Punctuation Day! (and giveaway)

Happy Punctuation Day, everybody!

In honor of this years National Punctuation Day, we've created a second Super-Grammar-style illustration in the guise of a comic book cover, and here it is:

As you can see, this year's Punctuation Day comic book cover features the Dash, and it also spills the super-beans on how to create a true em dash by typing in a secret code with your computer keyboard. Nope, we're not kidding; you need a secret code to create a dash!

It's true. If you give your computer keyboard the once-over, you'll quickly notice that there is no one key, or even two keys, available for the purpose of creating a proper dash (—). But have no fear, for where there's a super will to use proper punctuation, there is also a super way. And in this case, the way to make a proper dash is by using these secret codes:
  • On a PC: Hold down the Alt key then type 0151
  • On a Mac: Hold down the Shift key and the Option key then type the minus key (-).
  • And in HTML coding: type —
It may seem like a lot of cloak-and-dagger activity for such a simple punctuation mark, but honestly, who doesn't love using super secret codes? (We certainly do.) But more to the point, even though you have to work for it—the dash is worth it!

We hope you enjoy our latest Punctuation Day comic book cover (here's the one from last year), and don't forget to celebrate this Punctuation Day by learning all about the other Super Symbols team members. Simply turn to the blue chapter of your Super Grammar book, or you can use the "LABELS" menu bar (on the right-hand side) to choose a Super Symbols character, or click here!

And... the celebrating isn't over yet. In honor of National Punctuation Day, we're having a giveaway!

Ten (10) lucky people will win a set of our four (11"x 17") Super Grammar Promo posters, including, of course, a Super Symbols poster which features all twelve punctuation team members.

Please use the rafflecopter below to enter the giveaway. (terms and conditions of the giveaway)

Good luck, everybody, and we hope you have a super Punctuation Day!

The Super Grammar Team
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Happy Birthday, Super Grammar! (and giveaway)

Holy exclamation points! We're one year old!

That's right, citizens; one year ago today, Super Grammar was officially published by Scholastic books and sent out into the world to help everyone better protect and defend their sentences from mistakes and wrongdoing.

With only one short year of existence tucked under its handy-dandy utility belt, Super Grammar is undoubtedly a very young grammar book. But for such a relatively young book, we're very happy and proud to report that Super Grammar has already received two pretty amazing reviews from two very noteable educational book reviewers: the School Library Journal and Booklist. (Read these reviews here!)

That's some truly awesome news—so let's celebrate!

Since it's our birthday, we thought it would be a good idea to give away some of our Super Grammar birthday presents to you!

Here's what you can win in our Super Grammar Birthday Giveaway:

Three (3) lucky grand prize winners will win an autographed copy of Super Grammar, a set of our four (11"x 17") Super Grammar Promo posters, a National Grammar Day poster, a Super Grammar book bag, two bookmarks, and some stickers.

And five (5) lucky runner up winners will win a set of our four (11"x 17") Super Grammar Promo posters, a National Grammar Day poster, two bookmarks, and some stickers.

We know that Super Grammar has friends all around the world, so this giveaway has no borders. Anyone from any country is welcome to enter. (terms and conditions of the giveaway)

Please use the rafflecopter below to enter the giveaway. 

Good luck, and for those of you getting ready for back-to-school, here's our birthday wish for you: May your sentences always be strong!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Are you ready for the Disagreement?

It's time to get ready for the Sabotage Squad.

But have no fear—Super Grammar is here to help. And we're always ready to stand by your side as you fight your never-ending battle between good and bad grammar!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

Are you ready for the Run-On Sentence?

It looks like someone else is in a big hurry for school to start.

Team up with Super Grammar, and you'll be able to run circles around the Run-On and the rest of the Sabotage Squad.

( AboutReviews)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Are you ready for the Fragment?

Look who's itching to get back into the classroom.

It looks like the Fragment is ready for the new school year to begin, and that can only spell trouble for your sentences.

Well, there's one sure way to protect your sentences from this sneaky member of the Sabotage Squad: Get ready for back-to-school with Super Grammar!

See you in class!
( AboutReviews)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

We are listening to you!

Hello friends,

We'd like to take a moment to thank the great many of you who have taken the time to let us know (with either emails, comments, or facebook posts) that you're kids and students are learning how to protect their sentences with Super Grammar.

We love hearing that Super Grammar is making a positive difference in the battle between good and bad grammar, and we always appreciate it whenever anybody takes some time out of their busy schedule just to share this good news with us.

These messages are huge bright-spots in our day, and we're always happy to receive them. So once again, to all the parents, students, homeschoolers and teachers who have made the super effort to contact us—thank you!

We'd also like to thank you all for the great feedback in your messages and reviews. Getting this feedback lets us know if we're on the right track. And so far, according to your feedback, Super Grammar is heading in the right direction.

But even though you've let us know that we're on the right track, you've also let us know that Super Grammar still has some work to do. Along with all the kind praise and positive reviews of our Super Grammar book, we have also noticed that there are two questions that keep coming up:
  1. "Do you have any workbooks?"
  2. "Do you have any posters of the Super Grammar characters?"
Currently, we don't have workbooks or posters to supplement our Super Grammar book. But here's the good news: we think workbooks and posters are a great idea! And now, thanks to your feedback, we will be taking steps toward making them happen.

We don't have a release date (or even a schedule for them) yet, but we want you to know that we are definitely listening to you! And we'll be doing our best to get workbooks and posters moving forward as soon as we can.

Until then, please keep those emails and comments coming our way! They keep us motivated; they're always appreciated; and your input truly makes a difference.

And as always, thank you for teaming up with us!

The Super Grammar Team

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Modal Helping Verb!

The Modal Helping Verb is another faithful sidekick to The Verb, and this helpful Verb Team member has the power to modify the Main Verb in order to help a sentence express possibility, necessity, or expectation.

Here’s an example:
I may spare your planet.

The main verb of this sentence, “spare,” is being assisted by a modal helping verb, “may,” to help it express possibility.

Without the aid of the modal helping verb, “may,” the main verb of this sentence would only be able to express a basic state of action, “I spare.”

But with the modal helping verb’s assistance, the main verb, “spare,” can make the shift into expressing the possibility of the action, “I may spare.”

The chart below is a list of modal helping verbs and how they’re used to help the main verb of a sentence.

Modal Helping Verbs
Help to express possibility
can, could, may, might
Help to express necessity
must, ought
Help to express expectation
will, would, shall, should

The Modal Helping Verb has the power to help The Verb express possibility, necessity, or expectation. 


I can crush you.

can: helping the main verb, "crush," show possibility. 

I must defuse this bomb.

must: helping the main verb, "defuse," show necessity.

I shall protect you.

shall: helping the main verb, "protect," show expectation.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Verb Team!

Hello friends,

Inside Super Grammar you are introduced to the Verb Team, and you learn that this energetic team consists of two members: The Verb and the Primary Helping Verb.

The Verb is the team leader, and she uses her amazing energy to empower sentences with her power of expression. This power allows our sentences to express either a state of action or a state of being. (See pages 60-71 in Super Grammar.)
The Primary Helping Verb is the Verb's sidekick. She faithfully assists the Verb in performing complex tasks within a sentence, such as changing tenses, making positive or negative statements, and asking questions. (See pages 72-75 in Super Grammar.)

After reading about these two sentence-superheroes, you'll quickly come to understand that the members of the Verb Team are key players in our sentences, and that they are constantly working to give our sentences all the power they need to fully and properly express themselves in many different and complex ways.

Now, if that sounds like it's a very big job for just two Verb Team members to handle, well, you're right—it is.

But fear not, citizens, for the Verb Team does have more help!

Her name is the Modal Helping Verb, and we'll be introducing you to her in our very next Super Grammar post.

The Super Grammar Team

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Grammar Good Deed #3

This past Monday, in celebration of National Grammar Day, I paid a friendly visit to Mr. Brandow's 4th grade classroom at Washington Elementary School in Richmond, California, where I got to talk to his students about the power of good grammar!

This was my very first classroom visit as an author, and it was also my first time doing a Super Grammar presentation. I had decided that I would do this visit as a way to bring awareness to National Grammar Day, and with the spirit of Grammar Day in mind, I also decided that I should make my presentation about more than just showing off our Super Grammar superheroes. So in the time leading up to the visit, I really tried to think about a strong and positive grammar message that I wanted the kids to walk away with. Here's the message that I decided on:

I believe that my sentences deserve to be strong and correct.

So during my introduction, as I began to explain why I was there to talk to them about grammar, that's exactly what I told them. I said, "I believe that my sentences deserve to be strong and correct." Then I asked the students, "Do any of you believe that your sentences deserve to be strong and correct?" Right away, some of them raised their hands, and that's when I said, "Good! You know what? I also believe that your sentences deserve to be strong and correct, and I also believe that your sentences are worth fighting for—and that's why I'm here today to talk to you about grammar."

After my introduction, I jumped straight into the Super Grammar portion of my presentation, which included giving my "superhero definition of grammar" and an introduction of our four Super Grammar super-teams. And of course, what Super Grammar presentation would be complete without an actual grammar lesson using our super examples, right? So we did two Super-Grammar-style grammar lessons.

Our first Super Grammar lesson was about the Completion Team and their power to join forces in order to create complete sentences. During this lesson I explained why complete sentences are so important. I asked the students, "If you were a super crime-fighter, would you go into battle with only half your armor?"
With my visual-aid in hand, I exclaimed, "Of course you wouldn't! You'd get clobbered if you did that!" Then I explained how sentences are very much the same. I said, "We'll guess what? It's the same thing with sentences. They need both sides of their armor, too: the Subject and the Predicate."

The new Super Grammar illustration (above), provided by Super Grammar's amazing illustrator, Rhode Montijo, was a big hit in the classroom. It got a lot of laughs from the kids (and from Mr. Brandow, too). I brought along a few other illustrations, pulled from our book, to help us out as we continued our grammar lessons.

I called our first super example into action, and our mission was to check whether this super example sentence was a complete sentence or not.
First, the class helped me find the Subject of the sentence: "Double Vision."
Next, they helped me find the Predicate of the sentence: "is looking for clues."
And after we found both the Subject and the Predicate...
...we watched them join forces to form a complete sentence. Our first grammar lesson was a success!

For our second grammar lesson, I thought it would be fun to learn about a supervillain, so we decided to take on the Fragment. I called another super example illustration from our book into action, and then I asked, "Is this a complete sentence?"
Right away the class answered, "No!" I smiled big when they answered. "Eating up the entire city." was not a complete sentence; it was a fragment sentence. They were right!

But for me, the very best part about this lesson came when I asked them this next question: "What is this sentence missing?" And without skipping a beat, they answered, "A subject!" I couldn't help it; I had to smile again because they were absolutely right. The sentence was indeed missing a subject. We didn't know "who" or "what" was "eating up the entire city." And because this sentence was missing a subject, it was a fragment.

But our work wasn't finished. After we learned that this was a fragment, we decided to fix this broken sentence by adding a subject: Hipposaurus Rex.
Ah! That's better. Now we have a complete sentence!

After the grammar lessons were over, I wrapped up my talk by presenting the class with an official Super Grammar National Grammar Day poster, and by reminding them that it's always a good day to fight for your sentences!

All in all, my first Super Grammar classroom visit went pretty well. We talked about grammar; we talked about superheroes; and in the end, we all had a little fun.

I'd like to thank Mr. Brandow for welcoming me into his classroom, and I'd like to thank his students for being super great during my visit with them.

I'd also like to give a very big thanks to the super-parent responsible for setting this whole thing up. After she asked me to do this talk, I decided that I should do it because it would be a nice grammar-related good deed that I could do for these students on National Grammar Day. But in actuality, this grammar-related good deed belongs to her.

Thank you, Roni, for believing that Super Grammar would be a fun and interesting way for these students to learn about grammar, and thank you for believing that their sentences deserve to be strong and correct!

The Super Grammar Team