A supply of black arrows and red circles (may be paper).
Long strips of paper, lead pencil, red pencil, scissors.
- Invite the child to the lesson.
- Bring the paper symbols; black arrows and red circles.
- Bring the writing tray.
- Write a sentence that includes commands for the child that are separated with commas, be sure to use a red pencil for all punctuation. (as well as the word “and”)
- For example, “Nicholas put on a hat, scarf, and boots, and walked to the park.”
- Put a period at the end of the sentence.
- Ask the child to read the sentence.
- Ask the child to perform the action.
- “What are the action words? Right, ‘put on’ and ‘walked’.”
- Ask the child to cut out the action words as well as “and.”
- “How many action words are there? Right, two actions.”
- Place the corresponding number of red circles (two) in a column in the middle of the table.
- Ask the child to place the actions on the red circles, and ‘and’ between the red circles in the middle of the column.
- Ask the child “Who put on and walked?”
- Wait for the child to cut out the name and place it to the left of a black arrow which is pointing towards it and is next to the red circle.
- “What did Nicholas put on? That’s right, a hat, scarf, and boots.”
- Ask the child to cut out the things he put on and place them to the right of the top red circle.
- “Nicholas walked where? That’s right, to the park.”
- Ask the child to place “the park” to the right of the arrow which points to the right of “walked.”
- After all the words have been matched with symbols, ask “Do you see these little red marks?”
- “They are called commas. Commas just mean that we slow down a little bit when reading.”
- Read the sentence again, slowing down at all the commas.
- “If we didn’t have the commas, we’d have to say ‘and’ a lot of times.”
- Read the sentence once again, replacing the commas with “and.”
- “That sounds a little strange doesn’t it?”
- “You see this dot? It’s called a period. It means we stop reading.”
- Read the sentence again, and make a clear, dramatic, stop, perhaps tapping the table to emphasize the stop.
- Cut out all the commas to emphasize their presence and function.
- Clean up and show the child the tray of slips that can be used for independent work.
- Show the child how we use a comma in the date.
- Show the child how we use a comma between city and state.
- Show the child how we use capital letters at the beginning of a sentence, as well for names, places, and months.
- Show the child how a question mark goes at the end of a sentence when you ask a question. “A question mark tells you to bring your voice up a little bit when reading a question.”
- Show the child how exclamation marks tell you to mark a full stop too, just like a period, but that an exclamation mark tells you to raise your voice, maybe for excitement, anger, surprise, shouting, etc.
To show the marks of punctuation, and their function in the structure of a sentence.
Invite the child to look in books for punctuation.
It’s so important to do this work while the children are still in the period of the absorbent mind.
Observe their writing, such as stories. There might be great opportunities to introduce punctuation.