Correct the Paragraph

Correct the Paragraph is old school, but the kids LOVE it!  During a camp week, I typically play this game Monday-Wednesday.  Thursday and Friday is filled with other games.  I’m delightfully surprised when, come Thursday, a child shouts out, “Aww…why not the mistake game?”

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Common Core State Standards

(NOTE!  The following Common Core Standards can be addressed in this game:  CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.K.2, L.K.2.A, L.K.2.B, L.1.2, L.1.2.A, L.1.2.B, L.1.2.C, L.1.2.D, L.2.2, L.2.2.A, L.2.2.B, L.2.2.C, L.3.2, L.3.2.E, L.4.1.G, L.4.2, L.4.2.A, L.4.2.C, L.4.2.D, L.5.2, L.5.2.A)

Setting Up the Game

I write a paragraph on a whiteboard* (or chalkboard) that follows the genre that the children have just written about.  I will often use one of the student’s story.  When I write the paragraph, I insert lots of capitalization, spelling and punctuation mistakes for the children to find.  I then write the total number of mistakes at the top right corner of the board.

Above the paragraph I write a lower case ‘a’ and ‘tha’.

correct the paragraph-spelling


I explain to the campers that they will find and correct the mistakes.  If they see a letter that needs to be capitalized, they need to underline it three times and write the capital letter above it:

correct the paragraph-capitalization


I explain that if they see a misspelled word, they should circle it and write the correct spelling above it:


Lastly, if there is any punctuation missing, they should write it in and circle it.  I name each punctuation as I write and circle it.

correct the paragraph-punctuation

correct the paragraph written on a whiteboard

Again, this is very old school, but the kids LOVE it!

Fostering Success

Every great once in a while, I’ll have a camper that complains about this game and it’s typically because the child finds it difficult.  Smiling, I encourage the child to come up to the board.  I emphasize that I will help him/her.  If it’s too hard for the child, I’m quick to gently guide him/her towards finding a mistake.

students correct the paragraph students correct the paragraph students correct the paragraph students correct the paragraph

Everyone gets a turn.

The children don’t raise their hands.  I move around the room in order, calling 2-3 campers up at a time to make sure eager children don’t overshadow timid ones.  They correct one mistake each.

The Countdown

As each child corrects a mistake, I cross off and count down the initial number that I wrote on the board.

After each child has had an equal number of turns, and only a remainder of mistakes are left, I’ll tell the children that anyone can come now.  Those sitting in their chair, hand raised and quiet will be chosen to do so.

The game continues until all mistakes have been found.

Younger Children

Younger children do well adding periods and capital letters.

Older Children

Older children enjoy the challenge of tricky spelling, less common punctuation and very subtle mistakes such as a vs an, or leaving off an s.

Print the Instructions

Here are the game instructions for you to print out and use.

Correcting a paragraph almost feels like a lost art with technology and auto-correct, but in my heart it’s still super necessary and truly empowers young writers.

My goal in the camps and classes is to complete stories often for the sake of writing and finishing to share, not perfecting.

However, in writing often and playing this corrective game, the children start to internalize the habit of writing a capital letter at the beginning, refining their spelling and adding punctuation at the end.

Have fun with this Correct the Paragraph and watch the kids improve!!

Writing Prompts

This game can be played after any writing prompt lesson.

Soon, now posting completed paragraphs with the corrections for you to print out and use.  The completed paragraphs are below:

Apples Opinion with a Twist PromptApples Opinion paragraph

Mud Mites-Fictional News ArticleMud Mites Paragraph

Old School Friendly LetterOld School Letter paragraph

A Popping President-Fictional News ArticlePopping President paragraph

Puddle Jumping Fantasy PromptPuddle Jumping Paragraph

There’s definitely more to come!  If you’d like to be updated on these additions and receive new writing prompt and game ideas monthly, you can subscribe to my free newsletter below.