Teaching kids about capitalization does not have to be difficult: try incorporating capitalization games into your lesson plans. Before beginning to devise your own capitalization games or using games found on the Internet to teach your students about capitalization, make sure to review the rules of capitalization. The last thing you want to do is teach a student the wrong rules regarding when and when not to capitalize.
Games to Practice Capitalization
There are many games you can play with your students to teach them about capitalization rules. Your aim should to be to make learning about capitalization entertaining and interactive, allowing students to feel comfortable making mistakes and learning together. You can try to make up your own games, or you can find ones that have been tested by teachers throughout the country.
For example, here is a popular game idea to get you started:
My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean: A Capitalization Game.
Before playing, prepare at least 15 sentences that are chock full of proper adjectives, nouns, and other capitalized parts of speech.
When you are ready to play:
- Have your students sit at their desks.
- Read a sentence to the class.
- Repeat the sentence aloud to your students slowly, and have the students stand up or sit down each time they hear a word that should be capitalized, like is done when playing “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.”
- If your class has a discrepancy about the right rules and whether they should be sitting or standing up by the end of the sentence, have a class discussion and tease out the problem areas.
- Repeat for each sentence.
Have a challenge round in which you read the sentence very quickly the second time – see if your students can keep up!
Games About Capitalization on the Internet
- Sheppard Software offers many games that prepare students from elementary school through high school regarding capitalization rules as well as other grammatical rules. One great game featured on this site is Magical Capitals, which focuses exclusively on tricky capitalization rules.
- This game at Quia is simpler and focuses exclusively on the rules regarding capitalization rules with proper nouns and proper adjectives. Of all capitalization games out there, this is the one you want to try with your younger students just learning about capitalization.
Rules of Capitalization
There are several capitalization rules that you want to impart onto a student:
- Capitalize the first letter of each sentence.
- Capitalize the first letter of a quotation in a sentence.
- Capitalize proper nouns, such as the names of countries and cities.
- Capitalize people’s titles (Mr. Hendrix, President), especially in terms of business and high-ranking government officials.
Note that you might say, “The senators came to the White House,” but that you would say “Senator Keeley came to the White House.” If you address someone by their title instead of using their name, such as, “Tell me, Doctor, how much medicine should I take?” the title must be capitalized.
- Capitalize the points of the compass as regions, such as, “My friend Becky is from the South.”
- Capitalize the titles of publications, including the first and last parts of a title regardless of their parts of speech. Short prepositions and articles do not need to be capitalized, but the short forms of the word “to be” should be capitalized in titles.
There are many, many more rules of capitalization that confuse even advanced speakers, writers, and readers of English.