Dec 26, 2019
The first step is over – your child can read a simple sentence. She knows that words have to be arranged in a proper order to make a meaningful sentence. She can identify word order and place them correctly to make a sentence. She can even write a meaningful sentence.
But the process has just begun! Your child has to learn to expand simple sentences not only to construct longer and meaningful sentences but also to ensure that they reveal more. She will have to learn to make her sentences ‘stronger’ and more ‘powerful’. Only then can the sentences be placed one after the other to write a paragraph that will draw the attention of a reader, which will then lead to a fascinating story that will echo the imagination of your child.
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How may this be done? Here are the steps to steer your child to expand a simple sentence and make it stronger:
- First and foremost guide your child to identify the basic ingredients of a simple sentence.
- Lead her to the understanding that the first word in a sentence begins with a capital letter, and the last word ends with an end punctuation mark.
- Point out how each sentence has a person, place, or thing (noun); and there is an action word (verb) to show what is happening.
- Now that the outline of a simple sentence is revealed, ask your child to give an example of a simple sentence. Let us assume that your child has come up with the following sentence:
- The girl sang.
- Praise your child for the correct sentence.
- Express eagerness to know more about this sentence.
- Tell her they are going to find out more about this girl and her actions by expanding the sentence to make it stronger and more powerful.
- Ask ‘Wh’ questions related to the sentence, and list the answers on a sheet of paper. For example:
- Who sang? Answer: The girl
- What did the girl do? Answer: She sang
- These two questions will be answered by your child easily.
- Now prepare her for other questions, and ask her to use her imagination to answer them.
- When did the girl sing?
- Where did the girl sing?
- Why did the girl sing?
- How did the girl sing?
- Elicit the answer to each question and list it on the sheet of paper. For example:
- When did the girl sing? Answer: in the morning / after school
- Where did the girl sing? Answer: in her room / in the park
- Why did the girl sing? Answer: because she was happy / because she loved to sing
- How did the girl sing? Answer:softly / happily / loudly / sweetly
- As each answer is elicited, insert it in the correct place in the sentence using a different colored pen. For example:
- The girl sang sweetly in her room in the morning because she was happy.
Practice makes perfect – so elicit more simple sentences from her, and guide her to expand them to make them stronger. Your child is now ready to write meaningful paragraphs and expand them into stories that will reflect her creativity.
Dr. Swathi Menon,
Dec 15, 2019
Sentence building is a skill that begins with the recognition of alphabets. Once a child knows her ABCs, she is eager to arrange these alphabets in various ways to create words. And then she puts these words side by side in the proper order to create sentences. It is indeed an exciting process, with rich rewards – helping a child develop the skill of reading and comprehending what she reads.
The first step to help your child build sentences is to make her do verbal exercises. Present three to four words that she recognizes, and encourage her to use them to frame a sentence. Be sure that the words are simple, and known to your child, such as – dog, the, ran.
What a pleasure it is when she puts them together to build a sentence – The dog ran. The next step is to make her use more words to build a sentence; four to five known words, such as – dog, the, ran, fat, room. Your child will be able to place them in the proper order, along with other words, to say – The fat dog ran into the room.
Reading books together presents more opportunities to hone sentence making skills. While reading her favorite story, make her choose a few words that she knows. Challenge her to make a sentence using these words, along with other necessary words. For example, while reading The Little Red Hen, she may choose the words ‘red’, ‘hen’, ‘eat’, ‘seed’. Help her to use these words, along with others, to make a sentence that is not in the story, such as – The red hen will eat the seed.
After oral practice, it’s time for some written words and sentences. Ask your child to open her favorite storybook and choose a sentence that she likes. Write the words that make up the sentence on separate index cards using a colorful marker. Make sure the first word of the sentence has a capital letter.
Ask your child to match each index card with the corresponding word in the sentence. Jumble up the words, and guide her to place them side by side in the proper order to make the sentence. Encourage her to read the sentence aloud, pointing to each word as she reads.
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More sentences may be chosen from her favorite books for regular practice.
For more novelty, the index cards of words may be put up on the fridge with the help of magnetic tapes. Your child will have an exciting time, moving the magnetic words, arranging them in various combinations to make different sentences.
These activities, done daily, will help your child identify word order, which is the basis of sentence making. And she will be one step nearer to story-making – which, as we all know, is made up of sentences.
Dr. Swathi Menon, EdD