There are so many different elements that children must learn to combine to create an effective piece of writing and one of these is sentence construction. With so many different ways to be able to change a sentence, we need to ensure children are equipped with a ‘toolbox’ of techniques they can use. Giving children dedicated time to learn each of these, play and explore with sentences will ultimately build their confidence that they can and know how to use language in different ways to add effect to their writing. A focus on how to improve their sentences will inevitably help to improve the overall quality of their writing.
Here are three activities that can help children to explore and develop their understanding of sentence construction.
You could do these activities either with a set of your own word cards or using the TTS Super Sentence Tubs, which have a selection of words already provided for you. Each piece is colour coded according to word type and with a range of word types, the pieces can be used to build simple and more complex sentences.
Build a sentence
- Lay out a selection of word and punctuation pieces.
- Children choose a range of pieces and then use them to build a sentence. You can set specific requirements for your sentences based on the objectives you are working on, such as the sentence must contain an adjective or must contain two clauses.
- Encourage children to read back their sentence to check that it makes sense.
- Create a range of sentence starters before the lesson, e.g. The big hammer … Alternatively, children could create sentence starters for each other as part of this activity.
- Lay out a selection of pieces and ask children to read the sentence starter and then choose pieces to finish the sentence.
- Children then share how they have chosen to finish the sentence.
This activity is perfect for exploring subordination and co-ordination using the conjunction pieces.
Extend the sentence
- Lay out a selection of word and punctuation pieces and ask children to create a simple sentence, e.g. ‘The shark swam’.
- Children then swap their sentence with someone else.
- Children must extend this new sentence by choosing and including more pieces, for example using adjectives, conjunctions or adverbs pieces (depending on the sentence tub being used).
This activity is perfect for exploring concepts such as expanded noun phrases or using more than one clause in a sentence.
For more activity ideas, download our FREE activity guide found here.
The Super Sentence Tubs are the perfect resource to explore different aspects of grammar and sentence construction whilst also providing children with the opportunity to apply their reading skills.