Strategies for Teaching the 6 Traits

Strategies for Sentence Fluency

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  • Give the students a simple paragraph of unvaried, subject-verb structured sentences. Have them rewrite with fluency. Have children evaluate for same.
  • Give students samples of those dreadful reports which begin each sentence with "He was" or "George Washington..." rewrite.
  • Try a Faulkner sentence on them. Sort of a Non-sentence fluency project. Break it up into readable prose.
  • Compare two paragraphs with same topic but one good and one poor fluency. Use a venn diagram or similarities/differences chart.

Molly Godley

  • For homework, each student will find a passage they think demonstrates fluency. The teacher will prepare a rubric noting the main points: rhythm, flow, cadence; smooth phrasing; well built sentences; varied sentence beginnings. The students will read their selection to 5 different peers and they will evaluate it.
  • The students will then take a passage from their writing journals and read it to 5 different peers to be evaluated on the same rubric.

Cathy and Mindi

  • When teaching sentence fluency to first graders, it is necessary to begin with helping them to know the difference between phrases and sentences. We could play a game "Can you tell me which one is a complete sentence?"
  • Ask students to listen to some sentences and see if they can tell which ones flow nicely into the second sentence, helping the first thought to grow more. Ask them to help identify which sentences sound a bit choppy or do not have anything to do with one another.
  • Have the children tell about an experience they have had. Example: "The first time I slept over at a friend's house." Give the student a tape recorder and encourage him or her to talk freely about this experience to hear if their own sentences flow freely about this experience. Sometimes when young children need to put their thoughts into writing, they stop their flow of thoughts. It sounds choppy and does not end up with sentence fluency. These children need to know that writing is our way of speaking on paper, and it should sound as fluent.

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