The Mechanics of Writing

The Mechanics of Writing

The mechanics of writing refers to the conventions that help to make text flow, such as punctuation and capitalization. Students who are exposed to the mechanics of writing at an early age will become sharper readers and stronger writers.

Background Information

The English language uses two sets o letters in both handwriting and printing. Lowercase letters, also called small letters look like this: abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz. Uppercase letters, also called capital letters, look like this: ABDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ.

There are times when a capital letter is required at the beginning of a word. This practice is called capitalization. There are many instances where words require capitalization. Students at the lower elementary level should learn to capitalize when writing the following:

The word ā€œIā€

The first word of a sentence

Names of people

Days of the week, months of the year

Geographical locations: continents, countries, states, provinces, cities, streets, lakes, rivers and so on

Titles of books, songs, movies, and so on

Names of buildings, monuments, and events

Nationalities and languages

Brand names

In English, the pronoun ā€œIā€ is always capitalized as is the first letter of the word that starts a sentence. Both situations are conventions grammar that students should adhere to in all their writing.

Specific names of people, places, and things such as events and days of the week are called proper nouns. Proper nouns require capitalizations of the first letter. If there are several words in the proper noun, the first of each word is usually capitalized, except for small words such as a, the, to, and some other words. Examples: London, the State of Liberty, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Proper nouns that refer to a corporation or their product is called brand names. Generic refers to the common word for that product.

For example, Perrier is the brand name for the type of sparkling mineral water, so Perrier requires a capital letter. On the other hand, mineral water is a generic term, so ti does not require capitalization.

Many students who have studied Montessori at the 3 to 6 level may already be familiar with both lowercase and uppercase letters and are able to print the letters. Before introducing the activities on when the capitalize the letters of the alphabet, teachers may wish to review (or introduce, if necessary) how to write both uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet.

Some of the actives in this section serve as templates that teachers can adapt for other situations which capitalization is required.

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