Writing is something that came fairly naturally to me but it doesn’t seem to for a few of my children. This makes it a challenge for me to help them learn in a way that will be effective but still fun. There are two main ways that I have been working with my kids on improving their sentence writing. It has made a world of difference!
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The first method involves this little gem of a book, Write a Super Sentence, which is so easy to use and yet can make a huge improvement in your kids’ sentence writing. It has also been great practise for their brainstorming skills. This is how we use this book:
I write out the sentence arrangement on the white board and in brackets underneath the blanks, write what the word or phrase should be (noun, verb, adjective, etc.). We then discuss what an adjective (or adverb or noun or whatever) is and then we go about brainstorming for each of the missing spaces in the sentence.
We also discuss ways that the kids can go even further with the exercise and change even the words that are there. (You can see an example of this in the first picture where the word “grandfather” also has the words “Opa” and “Papa” written above it.)
The kids then take their worksheet page (photocopied out of the Super Sentences book) and complete the sentence using any of the words or phrases that we brainstormed together.
The brainstorming is a lot of fun because I don’t have a lot of rules for what they can call out. They say all kinds of silly words and I write them all down so they can later make their sentences be quite funny if they choose.
The second method involves a poster board and a stack of index cards. On the poster board, you make a simple sentence outline. examples are:
The (blank) (blank) (blank) (blank).
The (blank) (blank) on the (blank) (blank).
You can customize this by filling in the type of words required such as:
The (noun) (verb) (adverb).
The (adjective) (noun) (verb).
On the back of the index cards, you write the category (adjective, noun, verb, adverb) and on the front, either you or your kids write corresponding words. It’s of course another learning opportunity to have the kids choose the words and write them out.
Stack the words into their group and pile them so that only the category shows. You have now created a homemade giant game of Mad Libs!
Obviously, flipping the cards over to reveal the sentences is the fun part of the game! My kids get a kick out of reading things like “The scrumptious cat sung.” “The parakeet phoned swiftly.” and “She ate strong Fred.”
Notes to consider when making this game:
- Sharpie markers show through the index cards (as you can see from my pictures!) so use regular markers or crayons.
- Write verbs in the past tense so that the sentences flow properly.
- Allow the kids total creativity when writing the words. If you have boys, this will mean that words such as “poo” and “stinky” will be in the pile!
- You can expand this activity to create much longer and more complex sentences.
- For younger ones, have them dictate the word ideas to you to write out but the child can still be the ones to place the cards on the “game board” and flip them over.