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Teaching Prepositions
by Kevin Stuckey, M.Ed., CCC-SLP
What Is a Preposition?
A preposition is a word that begins a prepositional phrase and shows the relationship between the noun and another word in the sentence. A preposition must have an object and often indicates a noun’s location. Prepositions can also be used as other parts of speech such as adverbs. To decide how a word is used, say the preposition followed by whom or what. If a noun or a pronoun answers the question, the word is a preposition. Comprehension of prepositions is important for students’ success in school, for example—following classroom instructions (e.g., “Put your homework folders in the bin by my desk.”).
Examples of Prepositions
The following words are examples of some common prepositions:

above, after, against, along, among, around, at, before, behind, below, beside, between, beyond, by, down, during, except, for, from, in, inside, into, like, near, of, off, on, out, outside, over, past, to, toward, under, up

Example: The boy woke up and walked down the steps. We first ask up what? There is no object for that word so it is not a preposition. We then ask down what? Down the steps is the answer which makes the word down a preposition. The prepositional phrase is down the steps, starting with the preposition down and ending with the object steps.
Activities for Practicing Prepositions
There are many ways to help children learn and practice prepositions at home, at school, and in the community. Read the examples below for some fun ideas!
Home
  • Sing a song that has prepositions in it.
  • Watch a TV show and talk about where the characters are in different scenes.
  • Let your children help put dishes away by telling them where to put each item.
  • Look through magazines with your children and cut out pictures that have objects in different places. Name the location of each object as you go.
  • Talk about where plants/flowers are growing in the yard.
  • Let your children help put groceries away by telling them where to put the food.
  • Pick 1-2 toys to play with and hide them in different spots.
School
  • Go for a nature walk and point out the locations of different things in the environment.
  • Have students color pictures with several objects in different locations and scenes.
  • Name items in the classroom and have students tell you their locations.
  • Engage students by playing a following-directions game where they go around the room to find certain items.
Community
  • Go shopping at the grocery store and talk with your children about where food is located.
  • Go to a restaurant and let your children tell everybody where to sit at the table.
  • Drive in the car and point out where you find common objects.
  • Go to a retail store and have your children tell you where to find their favorite toys.
 
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