Sentence building activities support students in their first steps of writing in meaningful, cohesive units of text. They help to develop important literacy skills such as left to right directionality and the accurate use of capital letters and periods.
On LearningGrids, we have lots of these early writing activities across a wide range of curriculum areas and themes. The activities offer customizable levels of structured support to provide appropriate prompting and reinforcement as students develop their writing skills. These activities are particularly useful for emergent writers and English language learners.
Each grid in a Sentence Set contains all the words you need to build a target sentence. A picture can also be used to support the sentence. A model sentence can be shown on the grid, in a pop-up, or aurally to provide the appropriate level of support. You can adjust the model in any Sentence Set, adapting to the needs of your students as they become more confident. You may also choose to provide no model at all. Simply go to Edit View to change the model for the set (or even for individual sentences within the set).
Model on the Grid
This level of support is particularly helpful for children who are at the early sentence building stage – they can look at the model and click on the words in the grid to match the target sentence.
Offering a visual model, which pops up as required, subtly reduces the level of support. This time, the child can see the model but must close it before building the sentence – therefore encouraging independence and less reliance on the model.
The spoken model really encourages children to focus – listening and processing the accuracy and meaning of the sentence internally before building it. It’s a great task for building cognitive skills, making the link between the spoken and written words.
Another differentiation variable we can add is that of word order. In many instances, offering the words of the target sentence in a jumbled, random order is appropriately challenging. For some children at earlier stages, however, this may be a step too far. To provide more structured support for these children, we can set the words in the grid to “Sentence Order” (so they can simply click on the words in order from left to right and build the sentence), or even “Guided Order” (which forces the child to click on the words in the correct sequence).
There are certainly many options to explore and use with the children in your classroom – it’s amazing how much scope such a simple activity can offer. Head over to LearningGrids and discover all these great sentence building activities and more for yourself!