Reading and Writing Punctuation

Understanding how to use punctuation correctly is an important skill for readers and writers alike. Punctuation helps the reader understand the writer’s message. Punctuation marks tell the reader where to pause, breathe, raise their voice or change their voice.

“Those symbols on the page are a road map given by a writer to help a reader understand how to read their words.” – Nicole Hewes

Punctuation has the power to completely change the meaning of a sentence. Commas and apostrophes are common punctuation marks that are misused and can affect a sentence’s meaning.

Adult literacy tutors can begin punctuation instruction by helping the learner understand how to read punctuation marks. A chart that tells the learner what happens to their reading voice when they encounter different marks can be helpful. Practice reading aloud using different marks. Learning how to read punctuation marks can help to improve fluency and comprehension.

Another engaging way to teach punctuation is to use real world examples. Find photos of actual punctuation mistakes. Stores and restaurants are great examples. You might also check local signs, posters or websites. This can also be a fun way to spot spelling mistakes. Challenge your learners to find punctuation mistakes in their community.

To practice writing and reading punctuation, create a whiteboard game or use online games. Gamification can help increase motivation and make learning more engaging.

The Writer’s Workshop by TED-Ed offers some helpful videos on certain punctuation marks. These videos cover some of the trickiest marks and how to use them correctly.

To learn more about teaching punctuation, check out the resources below.


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