Should I use semicolons in this list, or should I use commas? Do the quotation marks go inside or outside of the comma? Is this a compound adjective that needs a hyphen or not? Is this a singular or plural possessive? The answers to such questions require quite a bit of understanding related to the punctuation rules, which are sometimes complex and confusing. Fortunately, this computerized instructional program boils it all down to some simple rhymed phrases like, “For plural words that end in ‘s’ a lone apostrophe is best.” Indeed, this program simplifies everything into six easy punctuation lessons that students can work through at their own pace. Students learn a poem that helps them remember the punctuation rules, and they learn a strategy for each rule. Included on the CD are an instructor’s manual, the instructional program, and all the materials (e.g., pretest, posttest, handouts, worksheets, answer keys) needed for the program that can be printed out, if necessary. Nevertheless, students can print the materials themselves as needed at various points in the program if their computers are connected to a printer.
For the most part, students can work through the program independently since the program provides feedback on student performance during all computerized activities. An instructor is needed to score papers and provide feedback toward the end of each lesson when students must write sentences that demonstrate their use of the punctuation rules. Additionally, the instructor administers quizzes at certain points to check student understanding and provides “pass codes” that allow a student to progress from one part of the program to another once a rule has been mastered by the student. The program has been very successful in teaching students to find punctuation errors in others’ writing and to use the punctuation rules in their own writing. All ages can benefit, starting with fifth or sixth graders through college. With purchase of each CD is a license to download it onto eight computers.The Punctuation Strategy Research