Books to Teach My Children Punctuation

I found great books at the library to teach my children punctuation.  My kids study these picture books, laughing over each and every drawing.  The books are Eats, Shoots & Leaves: Why, Commas Really Do Make a Difference!, The Girl’s Like Spaghetti: Why, You Can’t Manage without Apostrophes!, and  Twenty-Odd Ducks: Why, every punctuation mark counts!.

Punctuation books for kids

Here is one example from Eats, Shoots & Leaves.  There are a pair of drawings with the words “slow children crossing” underneath.  The first drawing illustrates “Slow, children crossing” with a crossing guard stopping cars so that the children can cross the street.  The second illustration for “Slow children crossing.” has children moving very slowly and blocking traffic.  In fact, there’s even a child walking a snail in the drawing.

All 3 books are filled with funny illustrations to help get a punctuation point across.  (In the back, there is a more detailed explanation of each punctuation rule.)

If you were to read these with much older students (upper elementary or even middle or high school), I think the illustrations would really cement for the students the different meanings a sentence can have with different punctuation.  The pictures are certainly helping me to remember punctuation rules (or even to learn them for the first time).

For my children (younger students), they just love the pictures and laugh about them over and over again.  Even my 4-year-old will look at the pictures  His favorite is the “giant kid’s playground”.  In fact, we’ve heard him off by himself laughing out loud over that drawing.  I hope that my children will just keep remembering that there are rules for punctuation and that writing it “wrong” can make a completely different meaning than what they intended.  As they get a little older, I have a feeling that some of these drawings will come to mind as they try to write a sentence.

We checked these books out of the library at least 3 separate times already.  You can tell how much the kids enjoy them.  Don’t worry.  We’ll return them so someone else can check them out – at least until we get them again.

Note:  There is 1 pair of sentences that I don’t really like out of the 3 books.  It’s “The king walked and talked half an hour after his head was cut off.”  If you have a child who doesn’t like blood in drawings, you won’t like this one either.  It shows a kind with his head chopped off and the body walking around without the head.  My kids just laughed over the badly written sentence and didn’t seem phased by the drawing.  I guess I found it grosser than they did.

Let me know if you have success with these books!

Classical Conversations Carnival

Library Find: Miss Pell Would Never Misspell

Since we already love Brian P. Cleary, I was excited to see another book by him at our library.

When I brought Miss Pell Would Never Misspell and Other Painless Tricks for Memorizing How to Spell and Use Wily Words home with me, I really didn’t know if the kids would like it.  Spelling really isn’t a favorite subject in this house.  At times, it has been a bit more like pulling teeth.  Much to my delight, Ruthie took to the book and studied all the memory tricks over and over again (on her own time, not “school” time).

The other day, she made a list for me of the words that she knew from Cleary’s memory tricks and actually asked me to give her a spelling test.

Miss Pell would never misspell spelling test

She honestly blew me away with the results.  Up until now, her spelling curriculum had words like “farm” or “reach”.

So, did this book have really great ideas or was Ruthie just extra motivated?  I think it was a combination of both.

What I love about the book:

  • It explains lots of different ideas for memorizing and demonstrates the techniques throughout the book.  (Every book in the series appears to have the same 2 pages about memorizing.
  • My daughter chose to study spelling on her own and really enjoyed her success.
  • There are great pictures that help you remember the memory tips for each word.
  • There are still a number of words for Ruthie to learn.  Some of the hints even would be more helpful for a child with a little more spelling under her belt.  (And I have other children who will benefit also so we’ll have to check it out again sometime.)
  • The book also has some pages about commonly misused homophones and other word usage mistakes that we still have to explore.

What Ruthie loves about the book:

  • “It teaches you how to spell words.”
  • “I got way ahead of my spelling book.”

Memorizing is something that some people are better at than others.  Maybe you want to have your children memorize more or maybe memorizing is challenging for your family.  We memorize a lot with Classical Conversations, but it is always good to learn new memorization techniques.  If memorizing facts is something new to your family, you might really enjoy some of the other books in the series as well.    

This series called Adventures in Memory also has books about science, social studies, and geography.  Our library only has the science one so I really can’t speak to how detailed the other two are.  For science, there are some science facts we memorize in CC and a number that we don’t.  Here are the titles:

If you find the Social Studies or Geography ones, please let me know what you think!  


Parts of Speech: learning through fun books

Parts of speech: learning through fun booksI love all the English memory work our children do with Classical Conversations.  In fact, it does so much with them that in these young years, I often like to pair the memory work with some fun, enjoyable, and casual grammar books that we love from the library.

Over the next weeks of memory work, we’ll be reading lots of Brian P. Cleary’s Words are CATegorical books to coincide with the memory work definitions.  I thought I’d share which books we will be using and how I will read the books with my kids.  Now, my children actually LOVE these books and enjoy reading them for fun, but I want to use them over the next few months for some extra focused grammar instruction to match up with our memory work.

Maybe some of you are much better at teaching English grammar than me and can do this in your sleep, but for anyone who’s still learning, this is how I’m going to use the books.


  • Dearly, Nearly, Insincerely: What Is An Adverb? and Lazily, Crazily, Just a Bit Nasally: More about Adverbs
  • The definition of adverb given at the beginning of the books is only has 5 questions, not 8 like CC’s memory work.
  • For my little guys, we’ll just read the books, laugh over the funny pictures, and see how many adverbs they can find.
  • For my big kids, we will actually start with Lazily, Crazily, Just a Bit Nasally.  If you look inside the front cover, this book has a color-coded system for which question an adverb answers.  We’ll go through the book together and see if we can figure out why each “how” word was labeled that way, and so on.  If you only get ONE of the adverb books from the library, this would be my recommendation.  
  • Then, we’ll go back to Dearly, Nearly, Insincerely and see how well we can figure out which question is answered with each adverb.  Hopefully, with success.



  • To Root, to Toot, to Parachute: What Is a Verb? and Slide and Slurp, Scratch and Burp: More about Verbs
  • In To Root, to Toot, to Parachute, the book’s verb definition is a little simpler than CC’s, but they don’t leave out “state of being” verbs.  There are 2 pages that talk about forms of “to be” and another 2 pages that use have or has.
  • With my little non-reading guys, I will encourage them to guess the verbs from the pictures or make up our own as well as reading the text of the book.
  • I love all the different verb tenses used in the book.  For my big kids, I will try to point them out as we read (and see if we remember any irregular verb tenses from cycle 3).
  • My copy of Slide and Slurp, Scratch, and Burp is still on hold at the library so I’ll add more to this post if that book has something better or different in it.



  • A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink: What is a Noun? and A Lime, a Mime, a Pool of Slime: More About Nouns
  • A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink talks just about nouns that are a person, place, animal, or thing.  It does bring in the concept of proper nouns.  I think this is a good introduction to nouns for my little guys.
  • A Lime, a Mime, a Pool of Slime also brings up proper nouns, but it also includes abstract nouns and gives a great little explanations of them.  We’ll have fun coming up with other nouns that week.  I am actually thinking of us trying to make a master “noun” list of a day (or maybe just an hour) that we run across to see what types come up.


  • But and For, Yet and Nor: What Is a Conjunction?
  • I’m partial to this book because it was the first Brian P Cleary book we ever got from the library (and in case you haven’t noticed, we love these books:  my kids will read them over and over again for fun).
  • The book uses all the conjunctions that we memorize for CC along with lots of other ones.
  • For the little guys, I hope to help them find all the conjuctions we have memorized as we read.
  • For the big kids, I hope to look at all the different ways conjunctions are used:  connecting words, phrases or clauses.  I’m hoping they can help me decide which is which.




  • Cool! Whoa! Ah and Oh!: What Is an Interjection?
  • This book shows how interjections can be used as different parts of speech and has a bunch of fun interjections in it.
  • We’ll enjoy curling up with this book and just talking about ways we use interjections in every-day life.
  • NOTE:  This book uses the phrase “Oh my gosh” – not a phrase we let our children use.  I’ll use this book as a chance to talk about how, even though words might be used by others to show strong emotion, it doesn’t mean we have to use those words as well.


Sadly, Brian P. Cleary hasn’t written any books with gerunds or appositives in them, but there still are a ton to go with this second half of Cycle 2.  If you missed my post about his book on pronouns, you can find it here.

Classical Conversations Carnival

Library Find: I and You and Don’t Forget Who


You can’t go wrong with a book by Brian P. Cleary We have loved everything of his we’ve read.  I and You and Don’t Forget Who: What Is a Prounoun? (Words Are CATegorical)   is a great little book about our pronouns.  As we have memorized the pronoun lists this year, it was a ton of run to read through this book loving for words we know.

We read it at the beginning of the pronoun weeks to introduce them, a few weeks in looking for words we already knew, and I plan to read it again when we are all done with pronouns.

What I love about all of Brian P. Cleary’s English books about grammar is that he introduces the concepts to my children in such simple terms.  My kids have often read his books for fun not realizing that they were learning.  My oldest children were introduced to adverbs, adjectives, and nouns all through books that they chose to read and that made them laugh.  I love it when they don’t even think of something as “school” and yet are learning a ton.

Every time we run across a new book of Brian Cleary’s at the library, we pick it up.