Teach English Writing: Add Punctuation

Add Punctuation

Writing Skills: sentence fluency, conventions, ideas

ESL writing teachers sometimes need short activities to fill unexpected breaks. If you’re like me, you’d prefer not to use time wasters. I like to maximize student learning opportunities. That’s why I like this activity so much. It’s a challenging activity that neatly fills a 10-minute gap with a quick learning punch.


Step 1 Introduction

Tell students they’re going to read a few paragraphs. Their task is to add punctuation and capitalization.

Quickly review the common types of punctuation, like period, comma, period, exclamation mark, question mark, quotation marks.

Step 2 Show Text

Display text and give students 3-5 minutes to read. Pair work is a good idea. Point out that there are no grammatical errors in the text.

I prefer to use the a classroom computer and projection screen, just because photocopying is time consuming.

Step 3 Review Answers

Read through the text, sentence by sentence, and ask students to shout out the correct punctuation where required. Show text solution.


Here are two sets of text which can be used for this exercise.

Worksheet 1 (open link for a pdf)

Based on a story about Thomas Edison from my website, englishlistening.rocks. The text is a little short and the vocabulary is basic. The words are drawn from the first 560 words in the New General Service List.

Worksheet 2 (open link for a pdf)

A few paragraphs from a story I wrote about the history of coffee, from the same listening website The vocabulary is slightly longer and a bit more advanced. It draws from the first 1686 words in the New General Service List.

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