One of the writing skills you teach with sentence fluency is having sentences of different lengths that start with different words when you are writing a section of your story. When you vary your sentences like this, the overall voice sounds more natural and the writing tends to flow better. The point is to study a published work like my book to see how a professional author uses this skill. Then talk to kids about it and show them how they can do this in their own writing also.
Pick any chapter in the book, such as chapter 23, “Missing Ma.” Read a section out loud to children. Next show them the section and ask them to write down the first word of each sentence. Ask them to notice how the first word varies. It can be repeated, but it is not always the same word. Also ask students to count how many words are in each sentence. They will notice that some sentences are long and some are short. (You can also talk to students about how during times of action or excitement, authors tend to use shorter sentences.) Finally talk about the different styles of sentences. Some start with phrases, others are subject/verb, and so on.
Once you’ve studied the book, then talk to students about looking for these types of things in their own writing–if it seems too much for your students, then choose one–such as varying sentence beginnings.
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