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Monday, July 22, 2013

Common Core Language Standard 2 - Grade 3 Resources

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standard for Language 2 deals with mechanics in writing. CCRA.L.2 states: "Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing." Today we'll be taking a look at how the standard breaks down for third graders, as well as some handy resources.

The first section of this standard, L.3.2a, asks students to "capitalize appropriate words in titles." Let's look at the progression of the capitalization standard:

  • Kindergarten (L.K.2a) - Capitalize the first word in a sentence and the pronoun I.
  • First Grade (L.1.2a) - Capitalize dates and names of people.
  • Second Grade (L.2.2a) - Capitalize holidays, product names, and geographic names.

This is the first slide of a PowerPoint presentation I use with my fourth grade students on capitalizing titles.

And this is the final slide of the presentation.

You can see that students need to have full command of parts of speech (including prepositions, which are not mentioned in the standards until fourth grade!) To me, this is an error on the part of the CCSS. Simple capitalization of titles, as shown in the first slide, is appropriate for third grade, but I'd hold the full-blown explanation until fourth. Try this capitalization worksheet from to review capitalization skills learned in first and second grades, as well as practice capitalizing simple titles.

L.3.2b states: "Use commas in addresses." We all know that commas separate the street address from the state and the city from the state. But what about that comma after the state (or zip code) in a sentence? How to Use Commas in Addresses and Dates from "for Dummies" explains it concisely. Kids will love playing Comma Chameleon from Sheppard Software to practice punctuation skills.

L.3.2c requires students to "use commas and quotation marks in dialogue." This can be accomplished through direct instruction and lots of practice. I use this PowerPoint presentation to teach my students how to use commas and quotation marks in dialogue. Here's a sample slide.

Comic strips provide great opportunities for practice in writing dialogue. Simply print a comic strip, place it at the top of a piece of lined paper, and copy. Abracadabra! You have a high-level dialogue worksheet. Just have students write the dialogue on the lines below the cartoon. Don't get a newspaper? That's okay, many cartoons are archived online. Try these: Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes, and many more on

Aspire to Inspire also offers a Quotations & Capitalization Quiz that can serve as a pretest or posttest for this skill.

L.3.2d deals with possessives. To teach possessive nouns, I tell my students that in spoken language we hear the "s" sound to signal possession. In writing, we differentiate between plurals and possessives by using an apostrophe. Now here's the key (sorry for shouting): THE ORIGINAL NOUN NEVER CHANGES! THINGS ARE ONLY ADDED ON! The apostrophe is always, always, always placed directly after the original noun. And if the word doesn't end in "s," we also have to add that to get that "s" sound. Like this:

I'd like to offer you some worksheets on possessive nouns. Just click, and they're yours. We start out with practice of Singular Possessive Nouns, continue with Plural Possessive Nouns, then normally need even more practice (which can be found on sites like, do a Possessive Nouns Review, and finally, take a Possessive Nouns Test. In the midst of all of this, I have found that giving a Possessive Nouns Spelling Pretest and then a Possessive Nouns Spelling Posttest really boosts their skill.

Let's take a quick look at what the spelling tests look like. Students simply write the possessive form of the noun in the first column.                                                                                                                       

The remainder of the standard deals with spelling. L.3.2e asks students to "use conventional spelling for high-frequency and other studied words and for adding suffixes to base words." L.3.2f states: "Use spelling patterns and generalizations  in writing words." And L.3.2g requires children to "Consult reference materials, including beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spellings."

There are so many different ways to handle spelling! I'd only like to offer two suggestions: (1) Find a way to integrate individual spelling words (words the student has misspelled) into your spelling program, and (2) check out

Internet resources for this standard are rather scarce. Hopefully the materials offered today will complement your mechanics instruction.

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