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Looking At Punctuation
Lesson Objective
This lesson will help the student better understand punctuation, and practice punctuation to develop more fluency in their
Background Information for Teacher
Punctuation lessons need to be on-going. Mini-lessons will serve you well if you pick out a particular punctuation to teach
and then review on a regular basis. Use the same book year after year!
Student Prior Knowledge
Materials: Find books that you love to demonstrate punctuation to your students (the books below can be found at your
local library). Examples:
The Goodnight Circle, by Carolyn Lesser (dashes)
I'm In Charge of Celebrations, by Byrd Baylor (dashes, parentheses, colons)
Thunder Cake and Mrs. Katz and Tush, by Patricia Polacco (ellipses, dashes)
Scarecrow, by Cynthia Rylant (apostrophes, colons, commas in lists, ellipses)
Aunt Flossies' Hats, by Elizabeth Fitzgerald (dashes, quotation marks within quotation marks)
Come On, Rain!, by Karen Hesse (hyphens)
My Mama had a Dancing Heart, by Libba Gray (hyphens)
Snow, by Uri Shulevitz (commas)
Winter Room, by Gary Paulsen (chapter book)
Step-by-Step Guided Lesson
Step 1: Start Video
(Tips: Interact with the video by pausing, to ask questions or discuss information viewed with student.)
Step 2: Teach Lesson
Pick a book of your choice (Examples shown under materials).
Begin with reading aloud and pointing out punctuation.
Ask the student to tell you what they notice as you read the book.
Once you are done with reading have a discussion, ask the student to think about why the author used certain
punctuation and what the writer might be asking the reader to do.
Chart the observations of the student.
Have the student explore punctuation with a book of their choice. Ask the student to notice punctuation in their
independent reading. Allow time for the student to read quietly.
Once the student is finished, have the student re-read aloud to hear punctuation. This procedure builds fluency
(Audiotapes can also help the student hear the difference in their reading using punctuation. Students are surprised how
much their reading improves when they engage in repeated reading).
The teacher should use his or her voice to clue the student to the punctuation for the student to record.
Once you are done with reading have a discussion, ask the student to think about why the author used certain
punctuation and what the writer might be asking the reader to do.
Have the student practice punctuation by doing any of the following:
Students find examples of text containing interesting punctuation use and write it on a chart for others to see.
Students find and write a sentence/paragraph as it is written and then rewrite it with different punctuation.
Students do an individual study of how one author uses punctuation.
Students compare one author's use of punctuation with another's (The student can compare the book read by the
teacher, and the book they read).
Students reflect on how their use of punctuation has changed over time (This can be done to see the students
changes over time).
They study punctuation in political cartoons and comic strips.
Have the student complete the worksheets in Step 3 for extra practice.
Step 3: Complete the worksheet attached below.
Worksheets needed to complete the lesson
Step 4: Review: Start the next lesson with the game or activity attached below for review so the student can
demonstrate understanding of this lesson before moving forward.
Editorial (offline) activity
Have the student take an editorial from a newspaper or magazine and edit it for correct punctuation. They may change the
punctuation and see if the message is different from the original.