Teaching Students to Write a Narrative ~ Varying Sentences

 Activities for Teaching Students How to Write a Story Hook


At the bottom of this post, you will find a link to all materials needed to complete this varying sentences lesson.

The Lesson 

  Activity #1 ~ Types of Sentence Problems



These three sentence problems are ones I see repeatedly in student writing. Recognizing different types of sentence problems is essential if you don’t wish for your students to make errors. This foldable style graphic organizer makes students aware of common mistakes that are frequently made:

  • Choppy sentences are sentences that are too short. When several short sentences come together, they force the reader to go slowly. This makes the writing seem more “elementary” than it
    truly is.
  • A run-on sentence is when two or more sentences are combined without connecting words or punctuation.]
  • A stringy sentence is when too many clauses usually connected with and, but, so, and because, connect sentences forming one very long sentence. Stringy sentences are so long the reader forgets the beginning of the sentence before reaching the end.]

Sentence Problems Anchor Chart plus free foldable organizer to go in students' interactive notebooks

Activity #2 ~ Types of Sentences

Once students realize they have short choppy sentences (or long stringy sentences), they will need to correct them by turning the some of the sentences into different types. This organizer goes over four sentence types:

  • A simple sentence, also called an independent clause, contains a subject and a verb, and it expresses a complete thought
  • A compound sentence is made up of two simple sentences called independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, or so) and a comma or by a semicolon alone.
  • A complex sentence combines a dependent clause with an independent clause. A complex sentence always has a subordinating conjunction such as because, since, after, although, or when.
  • A compound-complex sentence is comprised of at least two independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses.


Activity #3 ~ Ways to Correct Run-On Sentences

This organizer explains four different ways to correct run-on sentences:

  • Make two separate sentences.
  • Make a complex sentence by adding a subordinating conjunction.
  • Add a semicolon
  • Make a compound sentence by adding a coordinating conjunction.

Three Free Foldable Organizers to Teach Sentence Structure

You can get the pdf file here.

Important Note:

A similar blog post may be found here. It features a similar set of free printable organizers. It also has a link to a PowerPoint.

I reworked the the organizers from this post adding graphics. If you prefer to print on only one side of the page, use the organizers from this post. If you wish the students to have sample sentences to correct and don’t mind printing on two sides of the paper, check out this postFree Printable Graphic Organizers for Teaching Combining Sentences and Correcting Run-on Sentences



Gay Miller

Permanent link to this article: https://bookunitsteacher.com/wp/?p=2675

1 comment

    • Kendra on November 3, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    I loved using this with “The Cay” unit. My sixth graders still need some help on the types of sentences (they must have missed it in 3rd grade!! because they don’t really know different sentence types at all.) It’s been interesting learning about them myself….

    I am looking through and saw your foldable examples for pronouns with your “Wizard of Oz” unit. Would you ever think about selling them as a set separately? I would love to purchase them! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge!

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