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Teaching Beginning Quotation Use (Tricky Trick Download Included!)


“[A]lways get to the dialogue as soon as possible. I always feel the thing to go for is speed. Nothing puts the reader off more than a big slab of prose at the start,” nineteenth-century writer P.G. Wodehouse commented. He is not alone among authors in emphasizing dialogue in writing, but teaching students how to use quotations can be so difficult.


So, I’d like to give you some tips on teaching basic quotation use and punctuation to your students. Also, check out the Tricky Tricks Sheet at the end of this post. It gives a concise summary of basic quotation rules. Additionally, Character Ink Press’s Meaningful Composition 5 I includes more info on using quotes, along with a number of other writing lessons.

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6 Tips for Using Language Arts Recitation and Mnemonics (Cute Video Included!)


To recite or not to recite? Most of us grew up with recitations, rhymes, jingles, songs, and mnemonics to learn the planets, math facts, presidents of the US, and more. But what about language arts and grammar? Do these “tricks” work well for a subject that needs APPLIED once it is memorized? I mean, once you learn the presidents, you can easily figure out where to fit in history. Math is all about facts and figures. But language arts/English/grammar recitations are different. Memorizing and reciting are not enough when it comes to parts of speech, punctuation, and more.


So how DOES recitation fit into language arts concepts? read more…

Punctuation Puzzle: Pronoun Cases and Negative Words


Subjective. Objective. Big words (as many grammar terms are—adjectival clause or appositive, anyone?) to teach to young student. And yet, even young students need to know when to use he and him—less they end up saying, “Him took my toy” into adulthood! Like everything else I teach, I start out with what students already know. (I even say to them repeatedly, “You know more than you think you know!” Then I proceed to have them tell me what they DO know about the topic.)

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Punctuation Puzzle: Commas with Adverb Openers and Which Clauses at End of Sentence

Since it is the first of September, I assume that you have started school (or maybe Tuesday after Labor Day?) and are having review of many of last year’s concepts. And part of that might be comma review. I have a love-hate relationship with commas (though mostly love!). I love what they do for clarity, sentence rhythm, and reading aloud. (I read aloud to my kids for two to four hours a day for almost thirty years—commas become very important to the reader with that much reading aloud!) The hate part (though I guess that is a strong word for someone who loves grammar and language arts as much as I do!) is how subjective they are. This makes commas especially challenging for students to learn (and for teachers to teach!).

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Meaningful Composition SALE!!!


It’s the end of August. Might seem like an odd time for a curriculum sale—but we’re doing it anyway! And it’s a good one!  Use coupon code MC10 to get 10% off your order!!! read more…

Punctuation Puzzle: Commas with Interjections and Adjectives


Today’s Punctuation Puzzle brings to light an important comma rule that is not readily known. Commas are super subjective and thus challenging to write with. So whenever we can have a fairly fool-proof trick (or tricks in this week’s puzzle!) up our sleeve to make the comma insertion easier, we want to do it. (This is especially true in teaching English to our students—let’s make every trick, tip, mnemonic, song, rhyme, jingle, rap, and check sentence that we possibly can for our wonderful students! (See more of these in the Think Fast Grammar Quiz downloadable product available at Character Ink Store and in the Members Area of this blog!)

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New Downloadable Really Writing Product–Tools and Tricks (The Miner and the Regent Diamond)

With our Cottage Classes starting in all of our locations, we have been busy bees around here! Part of that has been creating teaching materials that our new teachers can use in the first few weeks of teaching (and that parents can use at home to reinforce what they are learning in our classes). So this post is going to introduce you to one of our new downloadable lessons (with a video lesson!) that you can use at home to teach Sentence-by-Sentence Outlining Over Given Material. Just watch the video with your student and have fun learning to write from an interesting given passage. Completely directed. Totally fun. Easy peasy.


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Character Ink Press New Membership Site!


Wish you had lessons on how to outline, edit, create stories, learn grammar concepts, and grasp new (and lifelong!) vocabulary tools? Wish you had lessons for all of these things AND videos to go with the said lessons? Wish these lessons were fun and easy for students to grasp—possibly even taught in a directed format by an author of over fifty thousand pages and one hundred curriculum books?


Well, you must have rubbed the right magic lamp—because Character Ink Press is opening a Membership Site with all of those things at your fingertips! And for the months of August and September, you can join this site (while we are getting it off the ground and starting to add to it!) for only $10 (for six weeks!).

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