In both our elementary and intermediate grammar curricula, we give instruction on sentence diagramming. If you would like to know more about why we do so, please read this article by Susan Wise Bauer: “Why Diagramming Matters.” Dr. Bauer starts by saying “Diagramming isn’t an arcane assignment designed to torture the student.” However, students with dysgraphia might have a little trouble believing this statement.
Here’s the good news: technology and creative app developers who also happen to love grammar have taken up the challenge to get past the hurdle of dysgraphia. Some of them have focused on making it a game and fun, but by doing so, have also taken away a lot of the work that proves the student understands the material. Too many of the apps “solve” the diagram for the student.
One developer found a way to remove the barriers of dysgraphia while retaining the educational component of diagramming: www.letsdiagram.com.
To use the diagramming app, you need to create an account by providing your name and an email address. There is no fee for this portion. When you open the app, you will see a set of graphic diagramming options on the left panel, and a “blank sheet of graph paper” on the right panel. At the top is the field where the student enters the sentence to be diagrammed.
To create the diagram, the student drags the word from the sentence onto the correct graphic. The app then puts this onto the “blank sheet of graph paper” on the right. The student can manipulate the elements by dragging them to their correct location in the diagram. The app will not solve the diagram for you–it simply replaces the handwriting requirement.
This app is actually part of a for-purchase grammar instruction program; the first few lessons are free, and then it is a pay-per lesson curriculum which we have not explored. There is a fairly lively discussion group, too–well, livelier than you might expect for a grammar program! Please note that the program uses one or two graphic diagramming options that are different from what we use in Well-Trained Mind Press grammar curricula, but nothing necessary is missing from the selection. The student also can work with colors to code different parts or kinds of sentences, if that is of help in understanding the diagramming.