The First Whole Book of Diagrams

Mary Daly
Ye Hedge School
Number of pages: 
196 pages
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I was not taught to diagram sentences as part of my education, so I first viewed such diagrams as a curiosity; however, I have gradually come to appreciate their value as a tool for helping my children understand how the works and ideas in a sentence are related. I have, for example, diagrammed Latin sentences for them to help them understand the structure and grammar of that language.

The First Whole Book of Diagrams is a sort of reader of diagrams, organized by complexity. The first seven chapters overlap with the Elementary Diagramming Worktext in covering basic diagramming, while the next eight present more complex topics such as coordinate conjunctions, auxiliary verbs, imperatives, interjections, direct address, subordinate clauses, verbals, intransitive verbs, and apposition. There follows a teacher's manual, and finally two chapters of complex diagrams of actual prose and verse selections.

We use the First Whole Book of Diagrams for examples, as a source of dictated sentences for diagramming, and as a reference, with the Elementary Diagramming Worktext as our basic text. However, the teacher's manual in the First Whole Book lays out a simple and clear method for teaching grammar through diagramming, independently of the elementary worktext. Mrs. Daly points out that it is vital to teach the right questions to ask in order to determine the function of words in a sentence, since rules like: "A noun is a person, place, or thing," fail with alarming regularity even in simple sentences. This is the approach she takes in the teacher's manual.

The First Whole Book of Diagrams is an extensive resource of diagrams, but it is also fun to read. My oldest two children have enjoyed reading many of the diagrams and puzzling them out. The diagrams are funny, fun, sometimes inspiring, always interesting.

Additional notes: 

The Complete Book of Diagrams is the public school version of the original diagramming book. It does not contain references to God. That version is available from the Riggs Institute.

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