A very cool thing happened today. I projected a story from a previous class, one in which we had created a story. I deliberately put nine errors into it. I asked the (first year 6th grade) class to read it after the SSR part of class. Among the nine there was a relative pronoun error and an object pronoun error:
La femme que parlait should have been La femme qui parlait. (The woman who was speaking.)
Il prend le should have been Il le prend. (He takes it.)
The passage was long so I gave them five minutes to read it. They read in silence.
When I could tell that they were coming to the end of the passage I started talking. What happened next was beautiful.
Merle yelled out, “Hey, you haven’t given us time to sound it out!”
I don’t know. That is just the one of the coolest things I can every remember hearing a student say in my classroom. They were reading for meaning based on the sound of the story created the previous day. Their understanding of the written text was based on reading proper grammar (grammar as properly spoken speech, which is what grammar actually is before the Dark Lord Rule Meisters rode into town decades and decades ago).
Next, the icing on the cake:
Egor, who is from Estonia and so is just getting started with English, found two of the nine errors this way:
He said, “OK, first – la femme qui parlait should be la femme qui parlait. Trust me Egor does not know what a relative pronoun is, nor do I suspect he care much what a relative pronoun is. But oddly, he knew the correct form of a relative pronoun.
Then he said, “OK the second one is – Il prend le should be Il le prend.
This was picking my intentionally embedded errors out from (I just checked on word count) a text consisting of 124 words.
Case made that we learn grammar by hearing (and reading) correct grammar. Case made for TPRS.