Why Is It So Hard To Teach Capital Letters?
I love to teach writing! The kids get so excited when they can sit in the author’s chair and share their work. Do you know what I don’t love? Teaching capitalization rules. It’s so frustrating! Teaching capital letter rules is probably the most uninteresting thing in a writing block. So let me show you how to make teaching capitalization rules interesting!
Teaching students to remember capitalization rules is like teaching my kids to take their socks upstairs after they’ve been sitting on the steps for an embarrassingly long time. It’s not that they don’t WANT to, they just overlook that job to get to where they’re going. This is the same thing with capital letters. They want to get going and tell ALL the things in their heads that they skip over the capitalization to get to their stories.
I’m not going to kid you, this takes FOREVER for them to remember to do. Our goal is for them to naturally use correct capitalization, like muscle memory. We shut the garage door without thinking about it, we want the same for capital letters.
Use An Anchor Chart To Teach Capitalization Rules
I’m a huge fan of anchor charts! Check these beauties out! I’ve separated them by capitalization rules so it’s not overwhelming. You can get a set within the capitalization bundle here! Each set of capitalization anchor charts is available at literacystations.com.
- Here are the anchor charts included:
- These capitalization anchor charts are easy to print and post! I know how valuable your time is, so these are ready for you and your students! Simply click on any capital letter rule above to see the product at literacystations.com.
Grab A Capitalization Mentor Text
I always try to find a book to demonstrate any mini-lesson. “If You Were A Capital Letter” is a great quick read to introduce capitalization. Click on the book cover to see it on Amazon. This is a book that my students always enjoyed. Not only are the illustrations beautiful, but it’s a great way to reinforce capitalization rules. I usually read this at the beginning of the year, but when I notice that my students are forgetting to begin sentences or words with capital letters, I’ll bring it out to read it again! Sometimes I’ve read it as many as five times a year, but that’s okay! Grab your copy today, you’ll be glad you have it!
Make A Million Mistakes
Where are my Hamilton fans at? Don’t tell me you didn’t sing this line! Mistakes happen OFTEN in my classroom, and mainly by me. One of my favorite things to say when I mess up is “You guys! That’s the first mistake I made today!” I love teaching my students that making a mistake is sometimes the best thing they can do.
When modeling writing, as all of you probably know, you make mistakes on purpose. And in your most dramatic, Oscar-winning performance, you say, “Look at my sentence boys and girls! Just look at it! Isn’t it wonderful that I wrote this?” They’re clambering to tell you that you forgot to capitalize the first letter. I do this ALL the time. Your kiddos helping you correct your mistakes will show them that it’s okay to make mistakes, and how to go back to check if they used their caps.
Use Cool Blue Capital Letters
I have a set of blue Crayola markers that I bought, that I ONLY allow for this reason. That way they’re special! Did you know that Amazon sells them in sets?
I bust these babies out when I’m teaching capital letters. And in my best smooth-jazz voice I tell my kiddos how COOL it is to use capitalization. If they capitalize all their words correctly, they can trace over their capital letters with a blue marker.
After a while, I’ll put them away when the novelty wears off, but I’ll bring them back out with a cool-blue flourish if I notice that my students are forgetting their caps. Click on the image to see the markers on Amazon.
Once you are ready, though put a blue marker at your independent writing station for your students to trace over THEIR capital letters! This helps them stay motivated and responsible for remembering their capitalization rules!
Practice, Practice, Practice
Now it’s time for them to practice. Repetition and reminders are key. I know that we get SO busy and we can’t revisit the skills we teach at the beginning of the year, so I use these worksheets and digital activities. I also do a lot of work with partner revision. Have your kiddos partner up and check each other’s work.
I’m not a big worksheet teacher, but in this case, these are great to help with capitalization, sentence structure and even handwriting! These can be used for whole group instruction or to place in your writing stations. Grab a set here!
Digital Resources for Capitalization Rules
I am, however, a HUGE fan of digital resources. Especially those that are engaging and fun! Here are some capital letter activities that are on both Google Slides (for your Google Classroom) and Seesaw. This is an example of how a student would capitalize the name of a store called “Pearl’s Flowers”.
The best part? Each activity has a VIDEO. Remember the anchor charts? Each digital activity has a mini-lesson to reinforce your capitalization lesson. It’s like a built-in anchor chart video! We know how students need to hear something more than one time, so these videos will help your kiddos learn their capital letter rules.
That’s right, a video mini-lesson to back up your amazing teaching. I’ve started to include these for my lessons, and it makes a huge difference with the quality of work that I see the students do. If you want to see how I make these, here’s the article!
Finally, check out the capitalization resources that you can get at literacystations.com. You’ll get the anchor charts, the traditional worksheets for practice, the video mini-lesson, and the digital slides with movable letters! All within each resource!
These are also available as a bundle here! Grab a set of your capital letter resources either for your whole class, or you independent writing station! Have fun teaching those cool capital letters!