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Junior Journalism: YMCA students learn the importance of using correct punctuation

Published in the July 6 – 19, 2016 issue of Morgan Hill Life

CLICK HERE TO SEE SHORT VIDEO OF THE STUDENTS

By the Summer Achievement Program Class for the Mt. Madonna YMCA

Photo by Marty Cheek Students and staff at the Mt. Madonna YMCA Summer Reading Program in front of a mural at P.A. Walsh STEAM Academy.

Photo by Marty Cheek
Students and staff at the Mt. Madonna YMCA Summer Reading Program in front of a mural at P.A. Walsh STEAM Academy.

Punctuation allows you to be excited or scared with your writing. We learned about several punctuation marks that we can often use when we are writing sentences. They are the period, the exclamation point, the question mark, ellipses, quotation marks, apostrophes, dashes and the comma.

Periods (.) can end a sentence so that you know when the next sentence begins. Exclamation points (!) are used when you’re excited or want to show you’re shouting. They are important because they set an excited tone for the sentence, but you should not overuse them (like this – !!!!) or use them at the end of a very long sentence.

A question mark (?) at the end of a sentence lets people know the writer is asking a question. Quotation marks (“”) show that somebody is talking and are placed around the actual words that a person said. A dash (—) makes the sentence change its idea really quickly. It allows you to interrupt the flow of your sentence with a new thought or fact. Dashes allow us to throw in an idea very suddenly — and they can make the sentence’s energy flow more interesting. Elipses (…) let the writer show the reader that some words are missing from a sentence.

Apostrophes (‘) can be put into a word to show that a letter is missing. For example, “it’s” really is “it is” with the apostrophe mark showing that the second “i” is gone. Commas (,) allow the reader to hear a slight pause in the sentence. Commas can also let writers separate words in a series or information that needs to be set apart from other parts of the sentence.

Our favorite punctuation mark is the exclamation point. It has a vertical line on top and a dot on the bottom and it helps us show in our writing that we are excited. Here are some examples of exclamation points:

“We are going to the park today!” Xsander screamed.

“I got the hot dog!” Gaby shouted.

“I’ve been to the beach!” Devin exclaimed.

Learning punctuation marks can help us read better. It’s important to know punctuation marks because, depending on how they are used by the writer, they can change the tone and meaning of the sentences that we read.

If you don’t have punctuation marks, the sentence might go on and on and on if the readers don’t know where to stop. Punctuation helps us to shape our sentences and make them more interesting. They can make a sentence silly or scary or have another emotion.

After a Junior Journalism workshop with publisher Marty Cheek at P.A. Walsh STEAM Academy, first and second graders in the Summer Achievement Program Class for the Mt. Madonna YMCA wrote this column.