Now that your child has reached second grade, they will be expected to use basic punctuation accurately within the stories and reports they are comprising. They will also begin to experiment with some new forms of punctuation as the complexity of their writing increases.
Punctuation is the name for the marks we use to make our writing clear. They are typically used to show a reader when a sentence has come to an end. Children at second-grade level will typically have a good understanding of how to use these basic punctuation marks:
The comma is a punctuation mark that we use to separate numbers and words. Children learn about the most basic use of the comma at Grade 1 level. Second graders will also learn that commas are important when writing a letter. Your child will need to practice using a comma in the date, the greeting, and the closing of each letter that they write.
The apostrophe is a punctuation mark that shows us when a letter is missing from a word or when something belongs to someone. Your second-grade child will begin experimenting with apostrophes at this level.
Look at how the ant in the pictures below is using an apostrophe in the word doesn’t.
Sometimes we shorten the phrase does not to doesn’t. We join the words does and not together. Then we take out the letter o and replace it with an apostrophe. This is called a contraction.
Here are some other contractions we use all the time! The apostrophe shows where letters are missing when we combine and shorten words.
Practice Tip: Create a pile of letters and apostrophes made from card. Ask your child to arrange these letters to make as many accurate contractions as possible. The below image shows you an example of this activity that your child can play on nightzookeeper.com.
We can also use apostrophes to show belonging. To possess something is to have it, which is why we call words that use apostrophes for belonging, possessives.
The apostrophe in Bertie’s name tells us that the umbrella belongs to Bertie!
Practice Tip: Children can try out this new skill by writing sentences using target possessive vocabulary as the example below shows.
On nightzookeeper.com, children can practice their new punctuation skills as they write stories, letters, poems and much more! They will be given feedback by tutors to help guide their use of punctuation marks and also receive instant feedback on the website should they forget to place a period in the correct spot. It is a great place for young writers to develop their punctuation skills alongside their creative writing.