Twenty-Odd Ducks: Why, every punctuation mark counts! by Lynne Truss

March Theme:  Six Traits Mentor Texts

This month, my focus will be on books that can be used as mentor texts when teaching the Six Traits of Writing.

Recommended Grades: 3-5

Six Traits:  Conventions

Twenty-Odd Ducks: Why, every punctuation mark counts! is a fantastic resource to teach students how the placement of a punctuation mark can alter the meaning of a sentence. The author demonstrates this by modeling two different sentences and color coding the different punctuation.  The illustrations aid the reader in understanding the difference between the two sentences.

Additional books in this series:

The Girl’s Like Spaghetti: Why, You Can’t Manage without Apostrophes!

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: Why, Commas Really Do Make a Difference!

Lesson idea: Read aloud this book and/or the additional books in the series.  Point out how the punctuation changes the meaning of the sentence.  Discuss the pictures and how the pictures show different meaning as well.  When children are familiar with specific punctuation marks and their uses, have each student write two sentences that use the same punctuation marks differently and illustrate each sentence.  Bind each child’s work together into a class punctuation resource book.

If you are looking for additional resources and ways to teach conventions to students, please read the post I wrote about Punctuation Celebration or the post I wrote on The web files.

**Note** I provide these lesson ideas under the assumption that you are familiar with The Six Traits of Writing.  If you are not, and would like more information about teaching students about conventions or any other six traits component, please feel free to contact me at Dlittle[at]linkstoliteracy[dot]com.  I am happy to provide more specific lessons or resources if necessary.

©2010 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Punctuation Celebration by Elsa Knight Bruno

A clever picture book that features fourteen poems about punctuation.

A great picture book to use as a model when teaching conventions. Read aloud this book with gusto and children are sure to find punctuation exciting!
Lesson Idea: After reading aloud this book, have children discuss the different forms of punctuation. Have each child choose one and write their own poem about it. Compile the poems into a class punctuation book to use as a resource when children are editing other students’ work.

The Web Files by Margie Palatini

Ducktective Web and his partner, Bill, have been called to the farm. All of the vegetables are vanishing! Will they be able to find the culprit and solve the mystery?

This book provides a wonderful model for conventions as various punctuation marks are used throughout. Written in police report form, the sentences are short and to the point. As the Ducktective and his partner question witnesses, quotations are used throughout. Lesson Idea: Read the book aloud once to your students. Discuss what would happen if the book did not have conventions. Provide an exerpt of the book with the punctuation marks removed as a model on the overhead. Read each sentence and think aloud for the students as you determine the punctuation marks that are necessary. After, provide another exerpt with the punctuation marks removed for the students to work on with a partner.