The concept of pronouns may be difficult for students to understand. Pronouns are a more abstract concept than nouns, but are used in the same way, so students often have difficulty differentiating pronouns from nouns. Students also become confused when learning the possessive pronouns that have no apostrophes. Pronouns can be just as difficult to teach as they are to learn. Engaging activities that introduce and reinforce pronouns will be more effective teaching tools than rote worksheets.

Pronoun Substitution

Two young students writing.
Two young students writing.

Provide students with sentence strips that each have a sentence written, but with no pronouns. Students rewrite the sentences, substituting appropriate pronouns for the nouns. As a variation, write sentences about various objects in the room and have students find the sentence strips near or attached to those objects.

Pronoun Find

Teacher drawing on a whiteboard.
Teacher drawing on a whiteboard.

Distribute photos or pictures from magazines to students. The students will write two sentences to describe each picture. Students will write one sentence using nouns and substitute pronouns in the next sentence.

Mad Libs

Young girl writing and smiling.
Young girl writing and smiling.

Mad Libs type games are popular and effective ways to reinforce pronoun skills. A story is written with all pronouns omitted. A blank space takes the space where each pronoun should be. Students fill in their own pronouns in these blank spaces. Sometimes only one pronoun will make sense in a given space, but sometimes several different pronouns will be suitable.

Pop Pronouns

Teacher playing music for young students.
Teacher playing music for young students.

Pop Pronouns is an identification exercise. Play a popular song that features lots of pronouns. Many songs that have personal pronouns in the title will work well. As students listen to the music, have them tally each pronoun they hear and identify its type.

Worksheets

Student working on worksheet.
Student working on worksheet.

Student engagement through meaningful activities is the best way to introduce and teach skills to students. But that doesn't mean worksheets are useless. Well-designed worksheets can give students independent practice with skills they have already learned. Worksheets should never be the primary tool for instruction, but they can still be very useful.