Syntactic Awareness: Teaching Sentence Structure Part 1& Part 2 (Keys to Literacy)


The ability to understand at the sentence level is in many ways the foundation for being able to comprehend text. The ways in which authors express their ideas through sentences greatly affects a reader’s ability to access and identify those ideas. Sentences that are complex, contain a large number of ideas (also called propositions), or have unusual word order will make it difficulty for students to comprehend what they are reading, especially students who enter school with limited oral language exposure or for whom English is a second language.

In part 1, the author shared two instructional suggestions for building syntactic awareness of students across multiple grades: Sentence Scrambles and Sentence Elaboration using who, what, why, when and how questions. Part 2 includes suggestions for Sentence Elaboration using “kernel” sentences, and Sentence Combining. All of these instructional practices are part of the Keys to Early Writing professional development course.