- Examples: cat - cat's toy
- bus - bus's wheels
- Jess - Jess's dog
- Example: Children - Children's playground
- mice - mice's home
- Example: dogs' park
Contractions are often on spelling word lists and we all know spelling words aren't always carried over to composition skills. The problem with contractions is that many children aren't sure where to put the apostrophe.
I use to teach the definition of contraction by having children stand up and expand - stretching arms out as far as possible and then contract - making themselves as small as possible while standing. Then we would do Simon Says expand, contract, expand, contract, giving the children a fun physical reinforcement of the vocabulary. I would then explain and show that a contraction combines two words making a smaller word. This is done by having the apostrophe replace the letter you take out. Examples:
- Do not - don't (replaces the o)
- Is not - isn't
I introduced this post with a problem a child had reading a contraction. Some children have difficulty with interpreting an apostrophe. One example is could've, would've and should've. These are contractions in which the second word is have. Unfortunately, because of the way they are pronounced many children end up interpreting it as could of. Another common problem is when a contraction includes a noun, such as the woman's angry. We know it means the woman is angry, but we teach that a noun with an apostrophe is possessive. Most children understand that the woman was angry, but if your child asks, just say that you have to read the entire sentence to understand some contractions.