Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Comma Abuse

Hello. My name is Theresa and I am a comma abuser.

Seriously, I never really mastered where commas belonged and where they did not in my writing. I think a teacher once taught me to put them any place that you would take a breath in your writing, which for those who know me, might never happen becauseIhavebeentoldthatItalkreallyfastsofastthatIdon'thavetimetobreathe. So, instead, I overcompensate, and tend to have what I affectionately call, "comma diarrhea" (gross I know, but I taught middle school!!)

And then, after I finally mastered the serial comma rule (you should have one less comma then the things you are listing) they go ahead and make that final comma optional!!

So - it was with great delight that I read over on Mentor Texts & More that NYC Teacher found a book that might help teach kids about comma abuse. It's My Big Boy Bed by Eve Bunting and here it how she plans to use it:

"It's a lovely book that tells the story of Donny's very first night sleeping in his big boy bed. Hardly a book for upper elementary school students, right? WRONG! I think it's an excellent book for teaching kids how to go beyond the traditional use of commas. Bunting's comma use throughout the story, especially in the story's dialogue is fascinating since she puts commas in places that I wouldn't have thought to put them. "

Now - I don't own this book (yet!) but I had never really thought to read books, particularly picture books, with the lens of teaching punctuation. Voice, word choice, sentence fluency - absolutely! But unless the focus of the picture book was about conventions (a la Punctuation Takes A Vacation) - I never thought about using it as a mentor text for commas!

Sigh! Guess I'll have to read my extensive collection of picture books all over again!! Good thing it's summer and Amelia will have lots of free time for read alouds!!

1 comment:

debrennersmith said...

I bought the It's My Big Boy Bed by Eve Bunting after reading this comment by you. It arrived by Amazon recently then I could not remember WHY WHY WHY would I order this book? After all, my 17 year-old has been sleeping in his big boy bed for many many years. I am so glad I found this comment again.