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Teaching punctuation

This section of teaching for progression in writing introduces a series of practical classroom ideas you could incorporate into your schemes and plans to help develop pupils’ understanding and use of punctuation.

Recognising progression

Pupils will demonstrate an increasing ability to draw on the full range of punctuation, and to use punctuation shape and craft their writing. This is expressed in more detail in the substrand from the Framework.

  • Year 7

    Use punctuation accurately to clarify meaning and create effects in clauses, sentences and when writing speech.

  • Year 8

    Draw on the full range of punctuation, including colons and semicolons, to clarify meaning, aid cohesion and create a variety of effects.

  • Year 9

    Deploy appropriately, in their own writing, the range of punctuation choices made by writers to enhance and emphasise meaning, aid cohesion and create a wide range of effects.

  • Year 10

    Shape and craft writing that draws on their understanding of how writers use punctuation as an integral and appropriate part of the intended effect, with clear consideration given to task, purpose and audience.

What aspects could be taught?

To become fully effective as writers, pupils need to know:

  • the full range of punctuation (full stops, commas, exclamation marks, question marks, apostrophes, colons, semicolons, dashes, brackets, inverted commas)
  • how to use punctuation for accuracy and to clarify and enhance meaning
  • trends in punctuation, such as how punctuation may be different in older texts; more recently the use of fewer commas; the introduction of the bullet point.