Effective writing flows smoothly from sentence to sentence, leading to clear and pleasurable reading. Young writers, though, are still learning how to command the rhythm of a page. They can get their ideas down, but their sentences often sound choppy or halting.
What they need is a little variety. Teach your students to vary sentence lengths, beginnings, and types—and to deliver their ideas smoothly.
Featured Activity: Improving Sentence Fluency
Use this activity to help students write with rhythm and flow.
Download the PDF or copy the Google Doc.
Consider this support as you engage with the activity.
By completing the activity, students will . . .
- Strengthen their sentence style.
- Develop strategies for smooth writing.
- Read and revise for sentence fluency.
- Vary sentence lengths, beginnings, and types.
- Combine choppy sentences.
- Respond to a peer's writing.
- Assure students that even the best writers must work on their sentence style. First drafts are rarely smooth or fluent. Most writers create rhythm and flow through revisions.
- Adapt the lesson to fit the needs of your students. Have beginners work on just one sentence skill—varying sentence beginnings. Have high-flyers work on all three—varying sentence lengths, beginnings, and types.
- Model the revision strategies. For instance, you might work as a whole class to improve the first choppy paragraph under “Revise Sample Paragraphs." Here is one possible revision: Elephants are amazing creatures. As well as holding the title of “largest land animal,” they are among the most intelligent animals. Full-grown elephants have no natural enemies other than humans. Based on these factors, elephant populations should be thriving, but they are not. Poaching and loss of habitat are driving elephants toward extinction.
- Provide more sentence-combining practice with this minilesson.