Grade Levels: K-3

This page provides information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students aboutusing commas with adjectives and lists. It is designed to complement the Commas with Adjectives and Lists topic page on BrainPOP Jr.

Commas can be confusing for some beginning writers, so we recommend providing plenty of opportunities for children to write and proofread sentences. We also recommend reading together and stopping to point out commas in text. This movie will explore how to use commas to separate adjectives and set off items in a list.

Remind children that punctuation marks are used in writing to help us understand how to read sentences. Commas are punctuation marks used to separate words, numbers, or ideas. Review with children that commas are used to separate two or more adjectives that are right next to each other. Show the sentence, “The sneaky, quick mouse stole the cheese.” In that sentence the adjectives “sneaky” and “quick” describe the mouse. The adjectives are right next to each other, so we use a comma to separate them to make the sentence clearer and easier to read. Analyze and write other sentences together. Then present a sentence such as, “The long and bumpy road leads to the forest.” How can children rewrite that sentence using a comma? Explain that using a comma to separate adjectives can make sentences clearer and less wordy.

Review with children that we also use commas to separate three or more items in a list. Present the sentence, “I saw dogs, squirrels, and birds at the park.” The commas set off the items to help make the sentence clearer. That sentence is much easier to read than “I saw dogs squirrels and birds at the park.” Remind children that they should write a comma after each item but not after the word “and.” The conjunction “and” already separates the last item of the list, so a comma is not necessary. Next, present a sentence such as, “I ate a sandwich and an apple and a banana.” Explain that we use commas to make the sentence clearer and more concise: “I ate a sandwich, an apple, and a banana.” Explain that a list may also include nouns and adjectives, such as “I saw a red robin, a brown sparrow, and a black crow.” Guide children to use commas to separate items or events in a list, such as “I walked to the park, climbed a tree, and played soccer.” The items in that list are tasks or events. Together with children, practice analyzing more sentences.

Understanding when to use commas and other punctuation marks takes time and practice. We recommend writing incorrect sentences on the board or on a piece of paper and having children fill in the commas or rewrite the sentences correctly. Help children become active readers and conscientious writers! Remind them to pay attention to punctuation as they read and to always proofread their work and check for punctuation after they write.