Tell your child that you both are going to go on an apostrophe hunt to see how they are used. Explain that you will look for apostrophe examples in newspapers and magazines.
Begin by having your child write the title “The Apostrophe” either at the top or in the center of the poster paper. Ask your child what he already knows about the uses of the apostrophe.
Begin cutting out examples that you find in advertisements and articles. Paste them in a collage format on the poster paper.
Try to encourage your child to find as many different examples of how apostrophes are used.
When you’ve filled up your collage, look back at the examples and encourage your child to articulate what he thinks the rules are. How do you use an apostrophe? If your child is having a bit of difficulty, this is the place to offer him some guidance.
If you are having trouble remembering all the rules, here's a quick refresher. Apostrophes are used:
to form possessives of nouns (i.e. Julie's book, the cat's meow)
to show omission of letters (i.e. that's, 'cause, isn't)
One of the most common confusions that arise when using apostrophes is "its" versus "it's." Chances are your child will struggle with this distinction - so look out for it! It's is actually a contraction of "it is," while its is the possessive form (i.e. the school opened its doors").
If your child has a writer’s notebook, have him write these rules somewhere in the book so he can refer to them. Make sure that after each rule your child writes a few examples. As another extension you can have your child look back at his writer’s notebook or another writing piece to correct any apostrophe mistakes.
Vanessa Genova DeSantis has been teaching for fourteen years in public and private school settings in grades 4-8. She's also an educational freelance writer as well as a private tutor for elementary, middle and high school students.