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A Roadmap to Sentence Combining. We are on this road together…

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Presentation on theme: "A Roadmap to Sentence Combining. We are on this road together…"— Presentation transcript:

1 A Roadmap to Sentence Combining

2 We are on this road together…

3 Research  Sentence combining research compiled by Trish Havlin, University of Oregon EMPL program and presented in collaboration with Heather Anderson  For further information contact

4 Recommendations for the Road Map…  Writing Next and Writing to Read (Carnegie Corporation)  Bruce Saddler, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology Division of Special Education, State University of New York-Albany  Columbia University’s Reading and Writing Project  University of Oregon-CTL Conference

5 Sentence Combining (Effect Size=0.50)  According to Writing Next, sentence combining involves teaching students to construct more complex and sophisticated sentences through exercises in which two or more basic sentences are combined into a single sentence. The effect size for all studies were consistently positive and moderate in strength.

6 Trip Plan  Exit 1: Definition  Exit 2: Anticipated Struggles -Sentence challenge and importance  Exit 3: Rules -Syntactic Control -Style  Exit 4: Sentence Combining

7 Think about… Writing is a process of communication that uses a conventional graphic system to convey a message to the reader.

8 Turn and Talk  What is sentence combining?  Can you define it?

9 Writing is… Message SubjectReaderWriter

10 Turn and Talk  What struggles do you anticipate with sentence combining for your students?

11 Anticipated Struggles Lack important knowledge of how to write Difficulties generating ideas and selecting topics Little advanced planning/organizi ng Limited revising ability Overemphasis on mechanics and Sentence style is simple and repetitive

12 The Challenge…  Of the many difficulties writers may encounter, crafting effective sentences can be notably challenging.  Sentence construction ability is a master critical skill for a writer to master.  The sentence is a vehicle of communication.  The sentence generation is the conversion of mental ideas, intentions to written forms.

13 The Challenge  Well crafted stories more enjoyable to read  Might lead to higher scores while grading  No rules for what type of sentence works best in a given situation.  No one ‘right’ way to do this.

14 Turn and Talk  What is style?

15 Style  In music  In clothing  In writing, style is the total impact of a writer’s words, sentence structures, details, images, and rhetorical patterns.  Style in writing is literally a ‘way with words’ (Newman, 1995)

16 Strunk and White (1979)  Provided one of the most complete guides to ‘style’;  “A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences for the same reason a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell…” (p. 23)  Helpful-but what’s the drawback?

17 Turn and Talk The drawback…  Is it exposure?  Is it syntax?  Is it grammar?  Is it word choice?  Is it voice?  What is it?

18 Syntactic Control  Style is produced through syntactic control  Learning syntactic control to produce or generate, and then revise sentences is important for all writers, as sentence generation (along with planning and revising) is considered a critical component of the writing process (Hayes & Flowers, 1986)  In fact, some believe that the ability to manipulate sentence structures is at least as important as initial creation of text in writing.

19 Example of syntactic control Picture and model syntactic control

20 Have ‘a go”  Your turn here’s a picture, now practice syntactic control

21 Syntactic Control  For skilled writers, syntactical control increase with age  Not so for children with disabilities  Syntactic gap widens…

22 Turn and Talk  How might this affect a student with a Specific Learning Disability (SLD)?

23 Writers with a Specific Learning Disability (SLD) Less skilled writers including writer’s with SLD may have considerable difficulties with sentence construction:  Shorter  Less syntactically complex  Lower in quality  More error filled  Less varied in terms of vocabulary and structure

24 Recommendations…  Andolina (1980) recommends teachers provide direct, stimulating language experiences to accelerate development of syntactical patterns throughout the school years.

25 Turn and Talk  What is sentence combining?

26 Sentence Combining  An effective method to directly teach sentence construction skills.

27 Have ‘a-go”  See hand-out

28 Example  As shadows filled the coach’s office, the coach bent over his metal desk and cleaned out the bulging files.  With shadows filling his office, the coach bent over his metal desk, cleaning out the bulging files.  In a shadow-filled office, the coach bent over his metal desk to clean out bulging files.

29 Benefits of Sentence of Combining  First, sentence combining increases an awareness of writer motivations and reader responses.  How does my writing sound to others?  Is there a better a way of saying it?

30 Benefits of Sentence of Combining  Second, varying sentences combinations can help students “convey different ideas.”  May reduce the choppy or run-on style sentences students produce  Elevates awareness of and familiarity with syntactic options for expressing the same idea  Willingness to experiment  If enough practice practice is provided to make writers comfortable with various options

31 Benefits of Sentence of Combining  Third, discussing sentence combining exercises may also help students become confident about punctuation  Exercises illustrate how punctuation organizes sentence elements.

32 Benefits of Sentence of Combining  Fourth, sentence combining practice may foster skills in revision  By promoting -reorganization-addition -or elimination of textual elements

33 Implementation  In small groups  Can be done orally, in one on one conference sessions  Mini-lesson  Bell ringer or a do now  This is a strategy that may be utilized across content areas

34 Homework  Implement a sentence combining activity with your students and bring a sample of student work to discuss at our next meeting.

35 Next Session…  Prewriting/writing process strategies


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