Putting together cut apart sentences (cut up sentences or sentence scrambles) is a simple way to help students practice a wide range of skills. They need to read the words, think about the structure of a sentence, and reread the sentence to ensure that it makes sense.
When students arrange words into a sentence they need an understanding of English grammar and sentence structure. There are 5 types of sentences, Wordly gives a basic description for each.
Cut-up sentences are a hands-on way to practice creating sentences. They can be more complex than beginning ELLs might create independently. For more information about selecting sentences read about mentor sentences and grammar read Patterns of Power by Jeff Anderson.
Sentence scrambles require students to focus on each word one at a time and together as a sentence. For students that rush through reading and skip words, this is a way to help them slow down. You can also have students practice reading the individual words by asking them to give you one word at a time.
Take a sentence from a book you read aloud to students. You can choose a sentence with rich vocabulary words, one that is about a seasonal or content topic, or a sentence with a rhyming pattern. Then cut it apart for students to put back together.
Sometimes a student’s oral language skills are more advanced than their reading or writing skills. Record a sentence a student says and have them put it together. Get step by step directions with The Power of the Cut Up Sentence.
Illustrate the Sentence
One additional way for students to use cut up sentences is to illustrate them. This is a great way for young students and beginning ELLs to show that they comprehend the meaning of the sentence.
Premade cut apart sentences with pictures.