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Teaching Homophones With Storyboards

By Katherine Docimo

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A Tale of Then vs. Than and There vs. They’re vs. Their


Solid understanding of grammar is key for student reading and writing success. However, many concepts of grammar are difficult to grasp and rely more on memorization than deduction. It’s important that grammar topics are addressed early and often in student writing, and that they are consistently repeated over the entirety of a child’s school years.

Understanding the difference between homophones (like "write" and "right") meets Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. Additionally, they are necessary in order to grow students’ writing skills, and improve important markers of ELA progress, such as state test scores and written responses.

"Then/than" and "there/they’re/their" are great examples of how grammar concepts can be made engaging by incorporating them into storyboards.



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Then/Than

Then is used when sequencing events in terms of time.

I came home from school, then I got a snack.

Than is used when making comparisons.

Jason is taller than Derek.

There/They’re/Their

There is used to reference a specific place.

I left the donuts there this morning.

They’re is used to describe what multiple people are doing. It is easier to distinguish because it is a contraction smashing together the two words "they" and "are".

They’re at the store getting Oreos.

Their is a plural possessive. This indicates a thing or things belongs to multiple people.

Their dog is crazy

Incorporating Storyboards Into Grammar Exercises

Usually these concepts are demonstrated through examples and then students memorize them with repetitive grammar drills. While consistent practice of grammar skills is important, it’s equally important to keep students engaged in the work. This will allow learning objectives to sink in and stick with your students.

Storyboarding is a perfect way for students to demonstrate their knowledge of the differences between "then/than" and "there/they’re/their", while exercising their creative talents. The clear, concise structure of storyboards allows teachers to immediately determine whether students have mastered the objectives. To increase practice and further ingrain learning, teachers can assign students to create multiple storyboards, and use more examples, allowing students to fully internalize the objectives, while still giving them the opportunity to have fun and be creative.

Some engaging ways teachers can teach homophones like "then/than", and "there/they’re/their" using storyboards are:



Common Homophones List



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