NoRedInk Skills Block

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During the 2015/2016 school year, Rectory School’s newly-implemented schedule allowed for a weekly skills block for all students. This was scheduled at the end of the academic day each Monday. Students were placed in one of three different classes to study from the appropriate computer program, based on their academic needs. The three programs are: NoRedInk® (for grammar), Aleks® (for math), and Read Naturally® (for reading fluency). This article is the first in a three-part series about these three academic computer programs. First, we will focus on NoRedInk, a computer-based program that helps students improve their writing by teaching them proper grammar and mechanics.

Have you ever worried about getting points marked off on your essay? Do you stress out when you see red marks all over your paper? Do you get frustrated about how to use proper written and oral grammar? If so, then NoRedInk, a website for students to review and practice a variety of grammar concepts, will solve all of your grammar concerns and help you achieve a better score on your everyday written work.

Writing represents a significant evolution of the human civilization and is what separates us from other animals. From hieroglyphics, the most ancient writing system, to thousands of languages in the world today, people communicate with each other and record significant events through writing. Most people learn to write in childhood, and as they continue on their journeys of becoming more proficient writers, their sentence structure becomes increasingly varied and complex. The grammar and mechanics we use in our writing connect our words and punctuation together to form sentences, as does the concrete in a skyscraper. If a writer does not have a strong comprehension of grammar, it will be difficult for readers to understand his/her written message. Sometimes, if a writer makes a tiny grammatical error, the meaning of the sentence might be completely different than what he/she intended. Therefore, proper grammar is essential for good writing.

The Rectory School has classes called “Language Skills” that teach the key concepts of English grammar. However, these classes also focus on other skills such as reading and speaking. In addition, some students who want to practice their grammar skills might be enrolled in world language classes, such as Spanish and Latin, so they do not have a Language Skills class on their schedule. Rather than spending a long time studying grammar worksheets, NoRedInk requires hardly any resources for students to improve their grammar. This powerful website offers the opportunity for students to study grammar on their own. Before you start the journey to perfect your grammar, with NoRedInk you first select some of your favorite movies or books, and the website will extract sentences from your selections and use them for you to practice your grammar skills. It is more interesting and helpful when practicing with phrases from your favorite movies and books than from random sources.

This year, Mr. Winkler and Mr. Williams were the first teachers for the NoRedInk skills block, so they proudly introduced this educational website to Rectory students. The students were able to dedicate an entire hour every week working on grammar and writing mechanics. Students have made large improvements over the past two terms. For example, I have been working with NoRedInk since last fall, and I have achieved over 180 points out of a possible 200 score. I have succeeded in writing paragraphs with a variety of sentence structures, making my essays easier to understand and decreasing the errors (those unsightly red marks) on my papers. I think this website is very helpful!

As you can see, NoRedInk is a highly useful tool that helps students improve their grammar and make their writing more accurate. If you still struggle with writing, visit this great website. You don’t have to finish all of the key concepts at one time; learning just two to four grammar rules per day will eventually make a professional writer out of you and leave no room for red ink on your papers.