Updated: Jun 21
In order for children to be successful writers, they must first understand the basics of capital letters and first word capitalization. This includes knowing when to capitalize the first word of a sentence and the pronoun "I". Capitalization is an important skill to learn, and it can be taught using examples from books that are read in the classroom. Short story flip books are a great way to engage students in learning about capitalization, and practicing writing worksheets can help ensure that they have mastered the skill.
Capitalization Skills First Taught in Kindergarten
Capitalizing the first word of a sentence
Capitalization is one of the first things related to grammar mechanics taught in kindergarten. It starts by reading short sentences from easy-to-follow books that highlight one sentence at a time. Teachers point out capital letters. They might say something like, "This is a capital letter. It's at the beginning of a sentence." or "We use capital letters for proper nouns." After looking at several examples together, students then have a chance to practice finding and labeling capital letters on their own. By the end of kindergarten, most students have a good understanding of when to use a capital letter.
TeachTastic's small practice readers are a great way for students to see capitalization rules in action as well as provide take home materials to expand their learning opportunities. They are also great for small groups or even literacy centers.
When teachers read the practiced reader to the students, they can not only see how the capitalization rules are applied, but they can also ask questions and make predictions. Shared reading is also a great time for teachers to model good reading habits, such as using expressive voices and pointing to words as they read. After the shared reading, teachers can give students a copy of the reader to take home. This way, students can practice reading on their own and use the book as a reference for writing practice worksheets. With TeachTastic's small practice readers, students will have plenty of opportunities to learn about capitalization rules and how to apply them in their own writing.
Capitalizing the pronoun "I"
A teacher might explain the capitalization rule for the pronoun I to kindergarteners as they teach reading and writing by saying that the pronoun "I" should always be written with a capital letter. This is because "I" is a proper noun, which refers to a specific person or thing.
A teacher might explain this to kindergarteners by saying that "I" is like their own name, and just as they would never write their name with a lowercase letter, they should never write "I" with a lowercase letter either.
The teacher could write the pronoun I on the board and ask the students what word it stands for. After the students say "I," the teacher could ask why the word is written with a capital letter. The teacher could then explain that when we are referring to ourselves, we use the pronoun I and it should always be written with a capital letter.
If any of the students still seem confused, the teacher could have them practice writing sentences with the pronoun I in them. For example, "I see a bird." or "I am five years old." By having the students write sentences with the pronoun I, they will be able to see how it is always written with a capital letter.
By introducing this rule in a simple and relatable way, kindergarteners will be able to understand and remember it as they continue to develop their reading and writing skills.
Below is a sample practice worksheet published by TeachTastic that can be used to help students practice first word capitalization skills. The worksheet focuses on capitalizing the first letter of a sentence, while others in the set ask students to also capitalize the pronoun "I".
Language Arts Teaching Tips - Kindergarten Capitalization
There are a few different ways to teach first letter capitalization and keep your students engaged. For younger students, a good way to introduce the concept is by using alphabet blocks or magnetic word strips. After demonstrating how to make the sentences have the students make their own capital and lowercase letter phrases.
An anchor chart is also a great way to introduce this concept. Model with the students how to make a sentence and then have them add their own examples. Capitalize the first letter of each sentence on the chart as you model for your students. As always, make sure to provide plenty of opportunities for practice. This could be in the form of whole group, small group, or independent work.
The M.I.N.T.S. Teaching Strategy
The M.I.N.T.S. teaching strategy is a great way to help your students remember to capitalize the first letter of each sentence.
- Model the strategy with an example: "I take my dog for a walk."
- Invite students to try it with you: "You take your dog for a walk."
- Notice the Capitalization: "You take your dog for a walk."
- Talk about it: "We always capitalize the first letter of a sentence."
- Support with a sentence strip: "I take my dog for a walk."
The MINTS pneumonic is also helpful for students that need mnemonic Devices to Remember Capitalization Rules
Months & Days
I pronoun "I"
Names of people and places
Start of a sentence
For older students, writing exercises are a good way to practice. Have them write sentences, paragraphs, or even stories, paying attention to which words should be capitalized. Another way to reinforce the concept is by having students proofread texts that contain many errors in capitalization. Not only will this help them to identify the error, but it will also give them practice in correcting it. By using a variety of activities for extra practice, teachers can ensure that their students learn proper capitalization rules and internalize them for future use.
The Importance of Kindergarten Capitalization
Capitalization is a foundation skill for children to learn, as it forms the entire base for proper grammar and punctuation. By introducing the concept using examples from books, and providing practice worksheets, children can easily learn the rules of capitalization and apply them in their own writing. Capitalizing the first word in a sentence and the pronoun "I" are two important aspects of capitalization that every child should master.
By following these simple steps, any child can become ready for the next lesson on proper nouns later in the school year. In 1st grade, students will continue with capitalizing the first letter of a sentence, the pronoun I, but now they will expand and add names of people and pets, days, and months.
Do you have any questions about teaching children the rules of capital letters and capitalization? Leave a comment below and let us know! We'd love to hear from you.
Happy teaching! :)