Introduction to Capitalization in English

Sometimes I start on something and then it becomes a rabbit hole that I sink into.  The latest research is on capitalization.  Now that Thumper is starting to read in earnest in Chinese and really practicing her English phonics, we’re encountering capitalization.  I notice that she does not capitalize when she writes.  Probably because Montessori starts writing all in lower case.  Perfect timing I randomly decided to do this presentation first!

Capitalization in English

Obviously, lots of resources for capitalization in English on the web.  I did a quick search and came across quite a few links for exercises.  In my research I read that some kids just kind of pick this up as they read, others need a refresher.  I printed a bunch of them out for Thumper to practice.   The eight rules, according to Montessori for Everyone, are:

  1. Capitalize the first word of a sentence. For example: Everyone likes the new exhibit at the museum.
  2. Capitalize the pronoun “I”. For example: The birthday present is just what I wanted.
  3. Capitalize place names: countries, continents, oceans, states, provinces, towns, cities, and street names. For example: Namibia, Rwanda, and Gabon are all countries in Africa.
  4. Capitalize the days of the week, months of the year, and holidays. For example: Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday celebrated on the 5th of May.
  5. Capitalize the words in a title, except for prepositions and articles unless they are the first word in the title. For example: I’ve always wanted to read The Wind in the Willows.
  6. Capitalize people’s first, middle, and last names. For example: Johann Sebastian Bach was a great composer.
  7. Capitalize the first word in a quoted sentence. For example: As Abraham Lincoln said, “Four score and seven years ago, our forefathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation.”
  8. Capitalize titles of address, like “Mr.”, “Mrs.”, “Jr.” and “Dr.”, and place modifiers like “St.” and “Ave.” For example: When my brother got sick, my mother took him to see Dr. Green.

How we’re teaching it

I just researched and printed out a bunch of capitalization worksheets.  One of them, the Montessori for Everyone one, has the rules printed on top.  I asked her if she could think of some rules on why we capitalize and she came up with needing to capitalize “I” and beginning of sentence.  We then talked about the rule, then talked about it some more at dinner with Baba.  I like having her talk to him about what she learned so I can see how much she recalls.  Now we’re going through worksheet one by one because she can’t actually read the English yet.  I’m asking her to circle the letters that need capitalization and then tell me why they need to be circled.  It’s kind of nice that I’m able to just go through it one on one with her for the first worksheet.  I’m leaving her to do the 3 more that I have to see how it goes…

Oh, we had a moment where she said, “oh nooooooo, I made a mistake” and I, having just recently read the Mindset book, said, “….and we can learn from it.”  I had to repeat a few times.  Trying to implement this new growth mindset thing…even though I didn’t finish the whole book last Friday when I looked through it at the bookstore.

Chinese Capitalization

I originally had the Chinese capitalization post in here.  But I realized that in itself is a big subject because there are some gotchas for children if they’re learning both languages.  As Chinese “capitalization” is just slightly different from English!  So you can follow the link and read on…..


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