Over, Under, Around and Through Prepositions

Every time I teach a class I’m always surprised by what seems to “sink in” and what still seems to float by. One of the things that seems to escape my students is prepositions. You know, those little words that tell us about location, direction and time in a sentence. For some reason, these little rascals drive my students crazy. So, what’s a teacher to do?

Together we created a couple of memory aids to help them. All the two letter prepositions make a nonsense word: ABIOOTU. It’s silly but it helped them remember seven of the words: at, by, it, of, on, to and up. I was thrilled about that victory!

We also used a “stick drawing” of a house. They were to draw things that explained other prepositions like, above, beside, under, over, inside, etc. That exercise helped some, too.

But the curious thing to me was, why did these little words cause so many problems? And I’m not the only writing teacher who has experienced such frustration with these little rascals. Perhaps the mystery will never be found, but if this problem crops up in my next class, at least I’ve got a few more tools in my grammar tool belt to knock down the walls that keep these little words from sinking into the heads of my students.

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