Using sentence scrambles is an excellent reading and writing practice activity. To create a sentence scramble, write a sentence in large print on a sheet of paper. Cut out each word. Alternatively, you may use sticky notes or index cards for each word. Be sure to mix up the words before showing the activity to the learner. Have your student read each word and then arrange the words to form a sentence using correct grammar. Sentence scrambles help learners develop syntactic awareness by manipulating the structure of sentences.
“This is a pretty popular method, for a good reason! It works! Students will get practice with capitalization, comprehension, fluency, content, sight words, and punctuation.” – The Fun Factory Blog
Author Joan Sedita offers six suggestions for teaching with sentence scrambles:
- Use sentences from texts you use for practicing reading or reading aloud.
- Include words the student has encountered in recent phonics or spelling lessons.
- Use words from recent vocabulary lessons.
- Try to use sentences that relate to everyday activities.
- Start with sentence scrambles with few words (three or four) and gradually increase the number of words and complexity of the sentences.
- Scaffold the activity by capitalizing the first word of the sentence and including punctuation after the last word.
In the video below by Literacy How, a teacher describes how to use sentence scrambles.
For more information about using sentence scrambles to teach syntactic awareness, check out the resources below.
- The Best Sites For Creating Sentence Scrambles
- How to Use Sight Word Sentence Scrambles in Kindergarten (adaptable for adults)
- Scramble Relay
- Word Work: Sentence Scramble
- The writing revolution : a guide to advancing thinking through writing in all subjects and grades
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