Teaching Prepositions Using Reading

Teaching Prepositions Using Reading
A preposition is a word that indicates the position of a person, place, thing, or a pronoun which denotes a person, place, or thing. These words let you know where a thing is or what is happening with it. They show locations in time. Prepositions can be easily taught with a list of prepositions, pictures, or by reading books.

Lists are often boring, but a list of prepositions can be useful. There are many prepositions, but here are some of the most commonly used ones. These prepositions are in alphabetical order:
About, above, across, after, against, alongside, among, around, at, before, behind, below, beneath, beside, besides, between, beyond, by, circa, down, during, except, for, from, in, inside, into, like, near, of, off, on, opposite, out, outside, over, since, through, throughout, to, toward, under, underneath, until, up, upon, with, within, without, according to, as far as, because of, by way of, in addition to, in back of, in front of, in place of, in spite of, instead of, on account of, on top of, out of, outside of, prior to.

I like having a list of the prepositions when I am teaching about them, because after the student uses the preposition, they can go to the list to see if it is on there. If it isn?t, they can further explore prepositions using a dictionary or the internet. After that, they can make a memory card listing the preposition on one side, then using it in a sentence on the back and illustrating the sentence with a graphic depiction. To get the student to this point, I often use pictures and books.

Look at the picture that is associated with this article. It shows three people. Have your student describe the picture and use prepositions. Here are examples:
The family is sitting on the grass.
Look at the girl sitting between the adults.
The tree has leaves on the branches.
They are sitting outside of the building.

You can thumb through magazines or pictures on the internet to find illustrations that show prepositions in action. Children's picture books like Heckedy Peg are also good sources.

One picture book that is good to use for illustrating prepositions is Over, Under, by the Clover: What is a Preposition? by Brian Cleary. The book has a lot of cute and quirky pictures illustrating prepositions. There is a rhyming story to go with the illustrations. In the text, the prepositions are shown in color, while the rest of the text is black. Older students will appreciate the illustrations. Younger students might be bothered by the font, which does not show all letters in the sizes that you would expect them to be. The book is a good read aloud, with each page giving opportunities to identify prepositions. In addition to this book, the Harry the Happy Mouse books are good reads for prepositions.


Once you have taught prepositions, it is an easy step to learning about prepositional phrases. Go back over the pictures and readings where you identified prepositions. See how they fit into a phrase. A prepositional phrase unites two parts of a sentence by using a phrase that includes a preposition to show the relationship between the parts of the clause. The preposition comes before the object of the prepositional phrase. Once you find the preposition, figuring out the rest is easy!


Harry the Happy Mouse Activity Book

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Heckedy Peg Picture Book Review
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