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Help me help my dc with punctuation

(12 Posts)
MrsJoeHart Sat 15-Feb-14 09:50:18

My DS is in year six, his spelling isn't great and he has problems writing using punctuation. It's causing him to feel frustrated because he's getting low marks for any work the teacher gives levels to. His teacher says that the content of his written work is fantastic and if he could only get the punctuation right he'd be getting level 5's but because he doesn't he's getting level 3a. He understands what he's supposed to do and knows all the rules but when he puts pen to paper it all goes. We've focused on him checking his work and he'll say that he's checked it thoroughly and he's sure it's perfect only to find when it's marked its full of errors. He's says that he just can't see it.

The secondary school he's going to use the SATs and cats to stream the children and his teacher is concerned that if he doesn't get a level 4 he'll be put in a stream that's for children that have lower ability than him.

Baring in mind the SATs aren't that far off does anyone have any ideas how I can help him?

CocktailQueen Sat 15-Feb-14 09:54:40

How about buying him a spelling and grammar exercise book to work through and refer back to? I can recommend Rising Stars' Achieve Level 4 Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling - it explains each idea, then shows you how it works, then you get to do exercises and there's a section with answers. At www.amazon.co.uk/Achieve-Grammar-Punctuation-Spelling-Revision/dp/085769958X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392458042&sr=8-1&keywords=achieve+level+4+grammar

sparklyma Sat 15-Feb-14 13:17:51

Read, read, read!

OutwiththeOutCrowd Sat 15-Feb-14 13:43:19

Reading what he has written out loud can be helpful, as it will make him more aware of where the pauses and changes of intonation should be.

Theconstantlygardening Sat 15-Feb-14 14:28:43

It's often very hard for a child to proof read and then correct writing. Try to teach him to write one sentence at a time and use full stops, commas etc. Some children do not actually understand what a sentence is: one idea with a subject and a verb. More than one idea- use connectives. Some children think they can punctuate after the piece is completed. You can't! A very common mistake is to link 'sentences' with commas instead of full stops.

When you are reading together, look at the way sentences are punctuated when you've come to the end of a page or a chapter- so not to spoil the enjoyment of the story.

YoullNeedATray Sat 15-Feb-14 17:51:15

Have a Google for 'Kung Fu Punctuation'. I found this really helped those in my class who struggled, as it made learning about it so much more fun.

Ferguson Sat 15-Feb-14 19:43:39

Yes, that book looks like it could help.

I don't know where you would find it, but I'm sure there must be on-line samples of sentences written with varying degrees of complexity, where punctuation will have greater influence on meaning. I seem to recall a sentence that the addition or omission of a comma completely reversed its meaning.

Try David Crystal and Lynne Truss.

Here Lynne Truss for children: www.lynnetruss.com/pages/content/index.asp?PageID=9

If you have a tape recorder, or can record on phone or computer, see if he can slowly DICTATE a passage, fairly complicated one, and then write it out paying special attention to punctuation.

Punctuation is constantly changing. I have read several Daphne Du Maurier books, and they are VERY precise in punctuation, but in an old fashioned way that we wouldn't use nowadays. For instance she uses apostrophes (') in front of words like 'phone, 'bus, 'flu, as short for telephone, omnibus, influenza.

If you can find it at the library her short stories that includes "The Birds" is worth reading, and it seems surprising but they are quite scary!

Theconstantlygardening Sat 15-Feb-14 20:57:42

Ferguson
The Lynne Truss book is much too hard for a year 6 child. I teach ( and write) for a living and some of my writing colleagues refer to Truss for help- it's not a book for children.

There are lots of books around that can help- one which I have is Stanley Thornes (Publisher) for 5-11 yr olds- Punctuation.

MrsJoeHart Sun 16-Feb-14 09:17:47

Thank you for all your help. I'll look out the Lynne Truss book at home to remind me and have ordered the children's one Ferguson mentioned. Kung fu punctuation looks interesting, so will have a proper look at it with DS.

MrsPaddington Sun 16-Feb-14 09:25:23

Oxford spelling punctuation and grammar dictionary.

Really useful

toomuchicecream Sun 16-Feb-14 19:25:07

Try getting him to use 2 coloured pencils/pens when writing - swap colour each time he starts a new sentence. I've had good success at getting children to remember sentence punctuation that way. It also shows if they know what to do but are forgetting, or they genuinely don't know what to do.

MrsJoeHart Sun 16-Feb-14 22:22:04

Brilliant Toomuch! I'll add it to my half term activities.

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