Nursery Rhyme Copywork for Teaching Punctuation and Grammar

vintage 1918 colouring page Mother Goose Goosey Goosey Gander RhymeFor practice writing out numbers and a series of items separated by commas:
One, Two, Buckle My Shoes:

copywork grade 1 or 2 one two buckle my shoe

Images by Walter & Naiad Einsel from the 1963 book “Know Your Toes”, non-commercial use only.

or Once I caught A fish Alive

One, two, three, four, five,
Once I caught a fish alive,
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten,
Then I let go again.

When learning about question marks, periods, and starting sentences with a capital letter, use the second verse:

Why did you let it go?
Because it bit my finger so.
Which finger did it bite?
This little finger on the right.

Curly Locks is also suitable for use with teaching commas in a series, question marks:
Curly Locks! Curly Locks! Wilt thou be mine?
Thou shall’t not wash dishes, nor yet feed the swine,
But sit on a cushion and sew a fine seam,
And feed upon strawberries, sugar, and cream!

More practice with question marks is provided in Little Tommy Tucker, where you may also note the proper capitalization of a proper name:
Little Tommy Tucker sings for his supper.
What shall we give him? Brown bread and butter.
How shall he cut it without a knife?
How shall he marry without a wife?

Little Jack Horner is useful when studying proper capitalization of proper names, punctuation marks, quotation marks, and capitalizing holidays (or at least Christmas):

Little Jack Horner
Sat in a corner,
Eating his Christmas pie.
He put in his thumb,
And he pulled out a plum,
And said, “What a good boy am I!”

For the apostrophe showing possession you might try Old Mother Hubbard. Tom, Tom, the Piper’s Son is another option.

Once I saw a Little Bird is also useful for commas in a series.

This one, of course, is useful for teaching the names and spelling of the months.

And this one does the same for the days of the week.

POssessive apostrophes, proper place names, all to be found in this old rhyme:
You owe me five shillings,
Say the bells of St. Helen’s.
When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.
When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch.
Pokers and tongs,
Say the bells of St. John’s.
Kettles and pans,
Say the bells of St. Ann’s.
Half-pence and farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin’s.

Another nice rhyme for practice with capitalization of proper names is:
Elizabeth, Elspeth, Betsy, and Bess,
They all went together to seek a bird’s nest;
They found a bird’s nest with five eggs in,
They all took one, and left four in.


More copywork here.

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  1. coffeemamma
    Posted May 1, 2006 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    We have often used Mother Goose rhymes for spelling practice (days, months, etc.) but never thought to use them for grammar lessons! Duh. I am so blonde at times. But very lucky to know such an intelligent lady 😉

  2. Queen of Carrots
    Posted May 4, 2006 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    I should have asked this question sooner, but for some reason I just thought of it and since you’re moderating I know you will still see it.

    Did you use just copywork to teach mechanics? (Punctuation, capitalization, etc.?) I really abhorred the grammar pages devoted to these topics, and would so love to do without them entirely. Can it be done?

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