L.CCR.2 — that's the 2nd College and Career Readiness anchor standard within the Language strand of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for ELA/Literacy — says:
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
For a great overview of the first three anchor standards within the Language strand, check out Saturday's post on L.CCR.1. Today's post will be a bit shorter, as we'll only be dealing with capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.
Have you ever taught a cap-happy writer? I'm guessing you have. They learn the basics of capitalization and then over-apply them to their writing. If only they had lived back during the 1700s!
C'mon, Thomas — capitalizing “course”? Really?
Now that I'm finished ribbing a founding father, let's get to the point: college and career ready folks have got to be savvy cappers. (Click to tweet.) This means they need to recognize proper nouns, and they also need to remember that not everything is a text (e.g., one of my pet peeves is the lower-cased personal pronoun i — ergh!).
Nothing says, “Throw me into the slush pile,” to a prospective employer like a cover letter with a few run-ons or fragments. The college and career ready person dominates the heck out of punctuation. They know, either instinctively or consciously, the difference between a clause and a phrase, between a subordinating and a coordinating conjunction, between a dependent and an independent clause.
Because of their working knowledge of how sentences function, they are able to appropriately place commas and periods and the rest of the punctuation gang.
All right, maybe there is something else that says, “Throw me in the slush pile, please” — misspellings. You don't necessarily need to be a Scripps champion to be college and career ready, but you do need to be able to correctly spell high-frequency homophones and have a strong grasp of the spelling patterns of English.
There are lots of great ways to do this; in my high school classes, I have students keep a list of their own personal “spelling monsters” and I include this on their proofreading checklist.