I too agree that students are falling behind on English skills. Grammar in this area is very poor, in general. We speak a different dialect. I am not saying that to insult anyone... I love this area., but Grammar just isn't the strong point for many.
Students need essential skills in proper grammar, sentence structure, and vocablulary. One way I ensure that my students get basic skills, is to utilize Mountain Language. I create a bulletin board and each week the students are to complete the assignments on the board. It is checked and turned in on Fridays. The students can work on this when they come in and then when they have completed their assignments. This way, students are still being introduced to basic essential skills while not taking away from other class time. Mountain Language doe not come in my specific grade level, but it is easily adaptable to ANY grade level. Hope this helps some...Pepper