# Differentiated Capitalization Lessons

By Kellie Hayden

Do you need ideas on how to teach and practice capitalization? This lesson breaks the rules into three sections and gives practice tips for each section.

## Differentiated Lesson for Three Levels of Students

This capitalization lesson will have three levels: basic, intermediate and challenging. There are so many capitalization rules. Some are easily remembered while others are complex and somewhat confusing. This lesson will start with the easy ones and work up to the more difficult ones.

Part of any capitalization lesson is to review the rules. Depending on the grade or level of your students, you can choose the section that suits your students best. However, if you have a variety of levels of students in your classroom and are trying to differentiate, you may be able to use all three sections of this lesson.

## Basic Capitalization Rules

The following are capitalization rules for the beginning writer. These are simple rules for the younger student. Review these five basic rules and then practice the rules with the included 10 practice sentences. You can use them as a handout for your students, write them on the board or project them from an LCP projector.

Start all sentences with a capital letter.

• Bella slept on the couch.
• Lonnie rode his motorcycle to the game.

Always capitalize I.

• Amber and I ate our ice cream outside.
• When I eat watermelon, I always make a mess.

Capitalize the months of the year.

• My sisters' birthdays are in the months of January, March and November.
• On August 11, 1997, my son was born.

Capitalize all days of the week

• On Mondays, we always receive a new vocabulary list.
• We have practice on Tuesday and Thursday.

Names of people are always capitalized.

• Jami and Mindy brought their favorite snacks to the sleep-over.
• Mr. Herman Shanklin donated a thousand dollars to our school.

After you have reviewed the five rules, use the following download to practice them.

Beginner Capitalization Practice Download

## Intermediate Capitalization Rules

At the intermediate level, students should have mastered the basic capitalization rules and now be able to apply the next five in their writing.

Capitalize names of holidays.

• Will you be going to the lake on Labor Day?
• On the Fourth of July we play on the river.

Capitalize cities, towns, districts, states, countries and continents.

• We will stop in New York City on our way to Canada.
• In Columbus, Ohio you can take in a concert or hockey game.

Capitalize the names of streets and avenues.

• My grandma lives on Myers Street.
• Starting tomorrow, Atlantic Avenue will be closed.

Capitalize buildings, mountains, parks and bodies of water.

• The Empire State Building is a famous landmark in New York City.
• We will vacation on Lake Erie this summer.

Capitalize names and titles of books, songs and newspapers.

• We enjoy reading the "New York Times" on Sunday mornings.
• The book "Shilo" is my daughter's favorite novel.

To practice these capitalization rules, students can write two sentences for each rule. When teachers grade the sentences, they should also mark off if students make errors applying the basic rules as well.

## Challenging Capitalization Rules

For the challenging level, students should have mastered the basic and intermediate rules and now be ready to apply the following rules in their writing:

Capitalize the first word when using quotation marks.

• Martha asked, "Would you please pass me the salt?"
• "Go ask you father," said mother. "I know he will tell you the same thing."

Capitalize a title when it comes before the name. However, do not capitalize it when it is a description after the name.

• Congressman Harvey
• John Harvey is a member of congress.

Capitalize family members (Mother, Father, Sister, Brother, Grandmother, Aunt, etc.) when addressing them but not when the words are used as a possessive pronoun.

• My grandma made us cookies for our trip.
• We will visit Grandma Smith on Tuesday.

Do not capitalize directions on a compass unless they refer to a region or section of the country.

• My cousin Brendan lives in the North.
• To come to my house, you need to drive north on Nickel Road.

Do not capitalize seasons: spring, summer, winter and fall

• We are going to Florida during the summer.
• In the fall, we have to rake leaves.

After you have reviewed the new five rules, use the following download to practice them along with all the rules in this lesson.

## Challenging Capitalization Practice

Directions: Correct the capitalization errors in the following sentences. Underline the letters that need to be capitalized.

EXAMPLE: do we need to bring snacks to practice tuesday?

1. “when are we going to the grand canyon?" said mindy.
2. in the spring we need to visit my grandma in new mexico.
3. when the students arrive in washington, d.c., they will visit senator brown.
4. in the spring, my favorite place to go on vacation is the south.
5. next friday jenn is bringing her brother to volleyball practice.
6. you need to go south on popular street until you come to a brick restaurant.
7. the golden gate bridge is beautiful in the morning.
8. in may we would like to visit our aunt margret in west virginia.

## Practice Makes Perfect

This differentiated lesson on capitalization will allow students to work at different levels or allow teachers to break the large amount of rules into smaller sections. It is important to continue to remind students of capitalization rules and practice them throughout the school year.