Punctuation can be a very boring subject for children, despite the fact that correct punctuation is vital to the development of good writing.
Dyslexic children often find it particularly difficult to use the right punctuation and because of this they will very often miss it out completely. I have come across a better way of teaching pronunctiation and of making the rules stick. It is called the Kung Fu Punctuation game.
Ros Wilson, who is well known in the UK, advocates the use of Kung Fu punctuation, as part of the writing programme, called Big Writing or FCOP. This writing approach is used very succesfully in many UK primary schools.
In addition ,Phil Beadle a well – known inspirational teacher (the winner of the Secondary Teacher of the Year UK Award 2005) highlighted the use of Kung Fu punctuation in a UK TV programme where he demostrated that he could teach pupils who were previously dismissed as unteachable.
How does it work? All punctuation marks are given a corresponding kung-fu-style action and accompanied by sounds or noises, as in normal Kung Fu or Karate. In this way the child is using more of thier senses in experiencing punctuation. Here are some examples;
- Full stop - Throw a short, right-handed punch at the air in front of you and make the noise, Ha!
- Comma - With your right arm bent so that your hand is in front of your face, make a short twisting motion at the wrist to signify the comma shape and make the noise, Shi!
- Semi-colon - Do the full-stop punch, then the comma shape directly underneath it and make the noises, Ha! Shi!
- Colon - Make the Full Stop punch and follow it immediately with one directly beneath it. Make the noises, Ha! Ha!
- Question mark - Separate the curly bit into three cutting movements with the hand: one horizontal left to right, one curved around, and one vertical coming from the bottom of the curved one. Then at the bottom of the shape you have just drawn in the air, add a full-stop punch. Make the noises, Shi! Shi! Shi! Ha!
- Exclamation mark - Make a long vertical slash, from top to bottom, followed by a full stop punch and make the noises, Shiiiiii! Ha!
- Quotation marks - Stand on one leg, extend your arms diagonally to the skies and wiggle your index and middle fingers in an approximation of speech marks. Make the noise, Haeeeee!
- Apostrophe - With your right arm fully extended to the air, wiggle your index finger. Make the noise, Blubalubaluba! (the sound you make with your tongue, when you flap it up and down against the inside of your lips.)
- Ellipsis - Make three punches along a horizontal line. Make the noises, Ha! Ha! Ha!
- Brackets - To open the brackets, use your left hand first, draw a curved convex line in the air. To close the brackets, use your right hand to do the opposite motion. Make the noises, Shi! Shi!
You can call out three punctuation marks and then your child has to put the moves and sounds for these together, in sequence, as quickly as they can.
You can later make up some sentences or a short story and leave out all the punctuation marks. Read through the sentences together and at the appointed places in the sentence get your child to do the kung-fu punctuation move he thinks is appropriate.
A link to Phil Beadle's book 'Could do Better'
For more information on this method of schooling please click on this link