- Use actions and sounds – for beginner readers, a fun, hands on way to introduce them to punctuation is to substitute different punctuation marks with actions or sounds. For example, a full stop is a bang on the table, a comma is a clap, speech marks a click of the fingers, an exclamation mark a high five…or whatever works for you! This will teach them about the natural rhythm and pauses of spoken sentences.
- Emphasise punctuation – when reading to your child, try and match your reading pace and tone to reflect each punctuation mark. For example, pause for a comma. For a full stop, pause a little while longer or take a big breath before you start the next sentence. If there is an exclamation mark, make sure you shift to a quicker and more imperative/louder tone. For a question mark, raise your tone on the word just prior so it sounds like you are asking a question.
- Undress a sentence – Write down a sentence from a book your child is reading, but take out all the punctuation marks. Ask them to try and punctuate the sentence, then compare with the sentence in the book. You can then read over the punctuated sentence with them, making sure to pause and inflect different tones to account for each punctuation mark.
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