Capitalizing Geographical Terms

The blog post offers helpful tips for teaching when to capitalize geographic terms including an anchor chart and free sorting activity.Students often have difficulty determining when to capitalize direction words. This post includes an anchor chart plus a sorting activity to help teach students when to capitalize geographical terms.

Rules for Capitalizing Geographical Terms

Capitalize north, south, east, and west when an area of the country or specific region is named.

Do not use capital letters for words that give a compass direction.

From Atlanta, head northeast on I-85 to go to Charlotte.
The captain turned the ship in a southern direction when he saw the icy waters.
Westerly winds blew in smoke from the fires. 

Do not use capital letters for informal names of an area.

The mountains are located in the western portion of North Carolina.
We traveled through the north of Maine.

Do use capital letters that designate definite regions.

Mount Rushmore is located in South Dakota.
Meghan won the Northeastern Championship.
My family is from the Deep South.

Do not capitalize the words northern, southern, eastern, and western when they come  before a place name. An exception to this is when the words are a formal part of the name. 

Meghan won the Northeastern Championship.
Following the fall of Rome, Western Europe entered the Middle Ages.

Anchor Chart

Capitalizing Geographical Regions Anchor Chart - This blog post also includes a free sorting activity to help teach students when to capitalize geographical regions.

Educlips created the compass clip art used on this anchor chart. It can be found here.

FREE Sorting Activity 

The blog post offers helpful tips for teaching when to capitalize geographic terms including an anchor chart and free sorting activity.

In this sorting activity, students sort direction phrases into three categories. Click here to download the activity.

The blog post offers helpful tips for teaching when to capitalize geographic terms including an anchor chart and free sorting activity.

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