Forming Sentences

Use some of these methods to help your child learn to form sentences and connect them together to build full concepts or ideas.

Simple Sentences

Beginning writers usually start by stringing together random letters. With time and experience, words and simple sentences take shape. Use some of these methods to help your child learn to form sentences:

  • Encourage your child to ‘pretend write’ (scribble) notes to you or make up lists of grocery items or things found around the house.
  • Help them to think about the letter sounds they hear in a word. Can they write any of the letters they hear?
  • Provide your child with some simple, unfinished sentences so they can fill in the blanks. For example, “I can see a _______,” or “The dog was_______.” Your child can write several of these sentences, adding a different word each time to form a simple story.
  • Have your child create an alphabet book by drawing or cutting out pictures of things that begin with each letter of the alphabet. Underneath each picture, write the letter and a simple sentence describing the picture. For example, “’A’ is for ______ “ (e.g. apple) and “Apples are ________” (e.g. red).

Connecting Ideas

Beginning writers create simple sentences with one main idea (such as, “I like dogs”). The sentences or ideas are often related, but do not have ‘connecting’ words like “and” or “but” (for example, “Dogs have soft fur. Dogs are nice.”). Use some of these methods to help your child learn how to connect their thoughts:

  • Use a highlighter to mark ‘connecting’ words in storybooks, newspapers or magazines. This will give your child new ideas for connecting ideas in their writing.
  • Look at familiar stories. Point out the different words the author uses to indicate the passage of time. You will see phrases like “a few days later,” “the next day,” “after she woke up,” “one day,” and “finally.” Encourage your child to use these kinds of ‘connecting’ words in their own stories.
  • Ask your child to write a few sentences or a short story about something they like – such as a favourite teddy bear, a family pet or a friend. Help your child go through the story and link related ideas using connecting words (for example, “and”, “but” or “then”). Help your child add variety to their writing by thinking of other words that could connect related ideas.