Bob Books Set 2, Book 4 is the first place we see the use of quotation marks. Just like we did with the exclamation point and the apostrophe-s that shows possession, we’re going to take advantage of the opportunity and talk about it.
As usual, we’re going to use a conversation to teach this concept.
So I take out my binder card (see below), and I point to the quotation marks at the top.
“What’s this?” I ask my student.
“I don’t know.”
“Well, can you read the sentences below it?” I ask.
And he does. He reads them both.
Now, here is where we have to be careful. If the student is younger than six, I usually just tell the student what quotation marks mean. If he is six or older, I try and have more of a conversation. While children less than six can certainly learn to read, they are not usually as ready for these sorts of details, I’ve found.
In my case, I am currently working with a six-year-old, and so I ask him, “How are these sentences different from each other?” My students can’t always answer this question, but in his case, he’s able to discern from the context that the second sentence is “telling Mat to do something.”
If he hadn’t said this, I would probably asked him to point to which sentence was telling Mat to do something.
After this, I asked him who said it. He didn’t know, but we agreed that someone had to say it.
“Well,” I said, “in that case, what do you think these mean?”
“To tell us that someone said it?” he asked.
Now, don’t be discouraged if your student doesn’t get it right. The point isn’t to get it right — the point is to have an interesting conversation with the child about quotation marks.
“So whenever you see these,” I say, pointing again, “you know that someone is saying something — someone is speaking. That’s important.”
And I leave it at that. As we read Bob Books Set 2, Book 4, this will become more clear.
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