Didn’t get enough word fun on International Literacy Day? Then get ready for September 24, which is National Punctuation Day. I kid you not.
According to the official site for National Punctuation Day, this particularly exacting holiday is the brainchild of comma fiend Jeff Rubin, and is now in its seventh year of celebration. Last year’s festivities were punctuated (ha!) by a baking contest, and this year they are soliciting punctuation-themed haiku, so go check it out if you’re feeling em dash deprived. Don’t miss the photo gallery of punctuation mistakes–a sadly bountiful crop of terrible pluralization, but some other entertaining gaffes as well.
But why would you want to do that? Grammar isn’t fun!
Yes it is.
I will grant you, I don’t know if playing Punctuation Pasta with macaroni commas and quotation marks would have gotten me all excited about punctuation as a student, but looking at it now reminds me of the totally fabulous found-object illustration style of My Dog is as Smelly as Dirty Socks, which is a great way to teach grammar and figures of speech. And I can totally imagine expanding the idea of punctuation pasta to punctuation pizza (period pepperoni, anyone?) and beyond (hence the baking contest last year, I surmise).
Punctuation is also incredibly useful in the world of solving rebus puzzles–take half the words out and replace them with pictures, and all of a sudden that apostrophe seems a lot more necessary to decoding the sentence. ReadWriteThink has a rebus poetry writing lesson, but there are dozens more out there, and lots of cool historic examples, too. The family of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow played with rebuses, and here’s one from Historic New England to test your mental mettle.
Feeling good about your visual verbal skills? Try the BrainBats over at BrainBashers (Lots and lots of fun brainteasers over there, by the way, including some fun logic puzzles). Or go for a more traditional grammar game experience with the Comma IQ test from the folks behind Eats, Shoots & Leaves. You might even copy edit to your heart’s content in both Spanish and English through Maggie’s Earth Adventures, offered through Scholastic’s Teachers site.
Had enough words? We’re back to impossible objects and scratch holograms in the next post.