19 Writers put words together in sentences.


Writers put words together in sentences.

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Children need to learn that letters, words, and sentences have unique identities, yet they work together to make meaningful language. Related concepts include the importance of leaving spaces between words and using end punctuation. Regular modeling and shared writing help children to learn these concepts.

About the Picture Spot plays with a kite to show how letters and words come together in sentences.

Major Concepts

  • Early writers learn to differentiate between letters, words, and sentences.
  • Writers use sentences to express their ideas.

Daily Lesson Planning

Special Note: From the beginning of the year, with input from children, write messages (shared writing) on the chalkboard—pleasant greetings, news of the day, or information about a topic you are studying. As you write, make comments about some of the skills involved in sentence writing. Talk about the letters (how they look and sound), words (how they are made up of letters), and sentences (how they must make sense, begin with capital letters, have spaces between words, and need punctuation at the end).

Introduction to Concepts of Print

  1. Explore the letters, words, and the sentence in "Writers put words together in sentences." Discuss Spot’s sentence. Then invite children to dictate other simple sentences. You may also do this as a shared writing.
  2. Implement "Silly Spot."
  3. Implement “Writers put words together in sentences” (BB 48).

Activities with Sentences

  • Implement sentence-writing activities (BB 49-53) throughout the week. Model how to do each page as you introduce it.
  • Write short sentences on the board, talking about the importance of making sense, the use of capital letters, spacing, and punctuation. Use sentence patterns that include children’s names. Examples: Sean is happy; Shiere has new shoes; Pablo likes math.
  • Give children many opportunities to do sentence frames (Spot sees __________.) in which they use words such as familiar names, family words, color words. Then implement "Silly Sentences."
  • For group sentence building, distribute a series of large word cards and one card with a large dot for a period. (Possible words: We, I, have, see, a, book, dog, car, big, little.) Have some children hold up the word cards, while others pick the words and indicate their correct order in a sentence—always ending with a period.
  • Do orientation activities; point out the beginning letter of a sentence, the first word, and the last word. Also notice long words and short words.
  • Place children in pairs to complete sentence frames. Examples:

We like ____________________ . We go to _____________________ .

  • Use patterned sentences from predictable books as models for sentence writing.
LAFS Standard:
TEKS Standard:
NE ELA Standard:

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Additional Activities

These activities offer options for continuing the learning in this unit. Whether your curriculum is skill-based or more open-ended, select the activities that are most appropriate for the children in your classroom. The Writing Spot is primarily a writing program, but writing can be integrated throughout your curriculum—in art, drama, reading, math, and science.

  • Begin sentences and names with capital letters.

Provide many models and opportunities for children to use capital letters to begin sentences and proper names. Play games and activities where children insert their names into sentences or contribute words to begin sentences. Have children read sentences and circle the capital letters. Make these activities fun by using silly sentences and sentences that use the names of children in your class. Use "Circle Capital Letters" to practice this skill.

  • Make up character names for the end-punctuation marks.

Name the period Dot. Then tell a story about Dot, who leaves a dot (a period) at the end of every sentence. Ask children to help Dot finish sentences by adding periods where they belong. Create character names for question marks and exclamation points, too. Use "Punctuation Puppets" for this activity if you wish.

  • Play a sentence game.

To reinforce using sentences, play the Caveman Game. Explain that cavemen probably didn’t speak in whole sentences. They pointed at an object and said one word, or they drew a picture. It was up to the listener to decide what it meant. Have children take turns being cavemen. The caveman says one word or draws a picture, and the other children must decide what is meant, putting the idea into a complete sentence. For example, if a child shows a picture of an elephant, other children might respond, “I saw an elephant,” “I have an elephant,” and so one. Write the sentences as children say them. Point out correct capitalization and end punctuation.

  • Leave spaces between words in sentences.

The idea of spaces between words can be reinforced using “human sentences.” Give each child a large card that has one word on it. Then put children into groups to make sentences. Have each group stand with their arms touching. Transcribe the sentence to the board with no spaces between the words. Without space, the words run together. Do they make sense? Try to read the sentence as one long, jumbled word. Now have the children move so their arms do not touch. Transcribe the corrected sentence. How have the spaces helped? Read the sentence aloud with the children.

  • Create a sentence-by-sentence story.

In a shared or interactive writing, begin by writing a simple sentence: I saw a monster. Have children add more sentences to tell about the monster: It was big. It was blue. It ate peas. Question children about sentence capitalization and punctuation as you write their sentences.

  • Remember that sentences should make sense.

Sentence-building word cards can be used to make scrambled word puzzles. Mix up the words in a sentence. Example: The man dog a saw. Have children put the words in the correct order so the sentence makes sense. Play a detective game. Leave simple, mixed-up sentences around the classroom for children to find. When a student detective finds one of these mix-ups, he or she unscrambles the sentence and shows it to you.

  • Build a story with sentences.

As you read to children, point out that stories are made up of many sentences. Have the class do a shared writing activity by building a story, sentence by sentence. Encourage children to use questions and exclamatory sentences as they build the story. For enrichment, ask for dialogue and show the use of quotation marks.

LAFS Standard:
TEKS Standard:
NE ELA Standard:

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English Language Arts: