Thursday, March 14, 2013

Run-On Repair [a Grammar Activity]

My son has been known to forget end punctuation. Hence, the run-on sentence occurs. To give him a little grammar lesson on why run-ons are bad, I grabbed a roll of register tape and an Easy Reader Level 1 book.

I copied the words from the book onto the register tape omitting end punctuation and capital letters. I stuck with a fairly short book, as the text gets kind of long regardless.

When my son got home from school, I was ready with the register tape, scissors, pencil, and the stapler. Before he did our language arts activity, though, I pulled out a Grammar Tales book to help me explain just why run-ons are so troubling.

This is our third experience with a book from the series and The No-Good, Rotten, Run-On Sentence didn't disappoint. It's the story of Kevin Crabtree whose great idea for a story became the longest run-on sentence in the history of writing (okay, I might be exaggerating just a bit). The first sentence ran and ran, right off the page and all over town.

Finally, after many feeble attempts to catch the sentence, dear Miss Bartlebine comes to the rescue with her red pencil. The ridiculously long run-on was finally tamed into perfectly polite sentences with punctuation or by adding words like but, yet, for, because, or and.

Now it was time to apply what he'd learned. 

I handed him the run-on story I'd copied and reminded him that sentences contain both subjects and verbs and always have complete ideas (i.e. no fragments). 

He worked his way through reading the register tape, stopping to analyze where adding punctuation would make the most sense and capitalizing the first word of the new sentences. 

Snip! He cut the register tape into shorter sentences that we kept in order and stapled together when he was done.

This was a fair amount of reading since it often required rereading passages again and again until fixing the run-ons made sense. My son hung with it and when he was all done, I had him check his work by handing him the book from which I'd copied the text.

He did a GREAT job!


  1. This is such a fantastic idea! I have the entire set of Grammar Tales somewhere boxed up in the attic with my 3rd grade classroom stuff. I am going to have to go no a book hunt this weekend. Thanks for sharing another great activity.

  2. What a GREAT idea! And I'm not familiar with this book- adding it to my wish list!

    Rowdy in First Grade

  3. so cool!!! I will try it today...looks like fun!!! I'll hand write mine in strips of paper... too lazy to type :)

  4. The Period and the Sentence. Here are some other multi-modal ways to practice eliminating run-ons and fragments.

  5. I love this idea and can't wait to try it with all my young writers! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Awesome idea!! How did you print the sentences onto register tape??

    1. I didn't. I just wrote as legibly as possible! I will warn you, though, it's hard to leave out punctuation!