When we put air into a balloon, it expands. When we let the air out, it contracts. Picture this analogy when you think about what a contraction is in English. A contraction is word that is a shortened form of two words put together. Can and not go together to make the contraction can’t. Do and not go together to make the contraction don’t. We take two words, take some letters out, put in an apostrophe, and then make them contract into one smaller word. Using contractions in your writing often sounds more natural, especially if you are writing dialogue and want the conversation to sound real. Listen to the differences between these two sentences.
We cannot go to the store today because we did not behave.
We can’t go to the store today because we didn’t behave.
You can also use contractions to add some variety to your writing.
We can’t go to the store today because we didn’t behave. I cannot wait to go tomorrow.
In order for children to understand contractions, they must also have a strong understanding of basic grammar principles, especially the way that verbs function in a sentence. Lessons on different types of verbs, such as action verbs, helping verbs, and linking verbs, will help reinforce your students’ understanding of contractions.
Kids often find online practice to be a fun way to learn and reinforce these skills. There are plenty of learning tools online that can be used to supplement what children learn in school. The multisensory nature of online games helps all students learn, including English language learners (ELL) and students with special needs, such as children with autism. Elementary contraction games are a great way to become more familiar with using contractions, and kids might even look forward to homework!