Creating sentences is an essential component of the PWIM cycle. Each student should have their own sentence. We tell them we are “shaking out the sentences.” Students tell you about a particular component of the picture that inspires them. If they make a grammatical error do not write down the error. ” He gots a fin” can easily be corrected by gently saying something like-“when we write, we say he has rather than he gots. Are you ok if I change your sentence a little bit?”  We write the student’s name at the end of the sentence. (In a smaller font) In this way we begin to address authors and ownership of writing. When we use the sentences for future models we always thank the author. an introduction to plagiarism. Numbering the sentences makes manipulating them much easier  once they are typed up. You can see from the photograph that I used two colours of markers to write out the sentences. It is a visual aid for younger students especially. Students see where one sentence begins and another ends. They also see that sentences can continue on to the next line. It makes it easier to teach their eyes to sweep across the page. The sentences are typed up on cardstock and printed off-a set per student, in the same manner as the word cards. They are easily stored in large envelopes, baggies or a container like a shoe box.

Working with the sentences consistently is essential. Re-reading them frequently builds fluency and drills the high frequency words that are required for beginner readers. There are many ways to do this-students enjoy partner reading and choral reading  as well as reading them silently.

Classifying the  sentences  builds an initial understanding of paragraph structure.

Illustrating the sentences and paragraphs helps build the comprehension strategies of visualizing and summarizing.

Combining two sentences to make new ones is an essential writing skill. Start by using the word and ,then teach the students to remove repetitive words. The man is kneeling on the sand. The little girl is hugging herself. Can be easily combined to The man  is kneeling on the sand and the little girl is hugging herself.   Sharks have fins. Big sharks are scary: Can be combined to Big sharks with fins are scary. Learning to combine sentences is a gradual process and needs a lot of practice.

Another good way to work on sentences is to have students change one word in the sentence, read it again and illustrate it. For example-a class book could be made with one sentence, one word being changed by each student. Big sharks are scary.  Everybody has to change the word shark to something they think is scary. Big tigers are scary. Big spiders are scary. Big birds are scary.

The predictability of this booklet will really help those struggling readers in your class. Make a cover, title it and “publish” it for your classroom library.

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