Using Transition Words to Improve Writing

Using Transition Words to Improve Writing

As teachers, we want our students to communicate clearly and effectively. One way to help them achieve this goal is to teach them how to use transition words and phrases in their writing.

Transition words and phrases are like bridges that connect ideas, sentences, and paragraphs. They help readers follow the logic and flow of the writer’s thoughts. Transitions can show different relationships, such as comparison, contrast, cause and effect, sequence, etc. Using transitions makes writing smoother and more coherent. They also guide readers to anticipate what is coming next.

The Common Core standards emphasize the importance of using transition words and phrases to organize and connect information and ideas. Students are expected to use various transitions to manage the order of events and clarify how ideas and concepts are related.

Be sure to get the handout. It includes the printables you need to complete some of the activities.

Activities to Teach Transitional Words

Hook Activity:

Using Transition Words to Improve Writing

Show students the cards with short, choppy sentences and ask them to identify what is missing. Ask leading questions, encouraging students to suggest that a passage written with this type of sentence would be boring and challenging to read. Students will use these cards again in Activity 3.

Activity 1: Videos

A great way to introduce transition words and phrases to your students is to use videos that capture their interest and explain the concept clearly. I suggest showing them two videos in this activity: “Transition Words in Reading and Writing” and “Transitions by Shmoop.”

These videos demonstrate the role and impact of transition words in writing and reading. They also give examples that are relevant and relatable to students.

YouTube Video on Using Transitional Words
Play Video about YouTube Video on Using Transitional Words
YouTube Video on Using Transitional Words
Play Video about YouTube Video on Using Transitional Words

Activity 2: Resource Booklet

Using Transition Words to Improve Writing

I have prepared a concise and practical resource booklet. This eight-page booklet is a go-to guide for your students, providing them with a handy reference for selecting appropriate transitional words and phrases. Print the booklet for students. This short resource booklet requires only two pieces of paper plus an optional cover to print, yet it will be a valuable reference guide for your students when writing.

The book may be printed and glued into an interactive notebook, placed in front of a writing journal, or dropped into a page protector sleeve and clipped into a three-ring binder. 

Instruct students to use the booklet as a reference when they need to find appropriate transition words or phrases while writing. Encourage students to use a variety of transition words. Sometimes, two words and phrases mean the same thing. Instead of repeating a phrase repeatedly, students can use slight variations. The word lists featured in the booklet will help students select alternate words and phrases.

Activity 3: Sorting and Rewriting

Give your students the “Examples of How Transitions Can Clarify the Meaning” handout. Ask them to work independently, with a partner, or in a small group to sort the cards into the five categories on the handout: sequence, add information, contrast, cause and effect, and emphasis. Then, have them rewrite the short, choppy sentences by adding a transition word from the same category.

Activity 4: Transitional Words Practice

Using Transition Words to Improve Writing

Test your students’ knowledge of transition words and phrases with a cloze exercise. The cloze sentences have blanks where transitions should go. Students must choose the best transition from the word bank for each blank. This activity helps students practice using transitions and understand how they connect ideas.

With these videos, resources, and activities, you can help your students master transition words and phrases. They will learn how to use them correctly and confidently in their writing. They will also improve the clarity and coherence of their writing.

Watch your students’ writing skills transform with the power of transition words!

Gay Miller

Permanent link to this article: