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Scrambled Sentences
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Scrambled Sentences can reinforce the identification of English language structures. Students should reassemble scrambled sentences only after they have read the original sentences in their intact form. Using sentences from one of their language experience stories is especially good since they have not only read the sentences several times, but they composed them using language within their repertoires.


Have 3 – 5 related sentences (paragraph, short story) written on the board or on a chart. For example:

  • Our class went to an apple orchard.

  • We saw many apple trees.

  • We picked a lot of apples.

  • We put the apples in a big basket.

  • We brought the apples back to school.

Put in a box Write each sentence on a strip of paper. Cut the sentences keeping phrases (sentence constituents) intact, for example:

Our class went to an apple orchard

Our class / went  / to  / an apple orchard Put in a box

We saw many apple trees.

We/ saw/ many apple trees.

We picked a lot of apples.

We/ picked/ a lot of apples.

We put the apples in a big basket.

We/ put/ the apples/ in a big basket

We brought the apples back to school.

We/ bought/ the apples/ back/ to school.

Children read the sentences from the board or chart.

  • Point to the first sentence.

  • Show children that you have cut up this sentence.

  • Tell them you will mix up the words, and they can put the sentence back together.

  • Cover the paragraph.

  • Put the 3 cards with the phrases on the table in mixed order.

The students can work together to put the cards in the right order.

When they are done, show them the sentence on the board or chart and have them compare their work with the model sentence. Discuss errors.

Proceed in the same manner for the rest of the sentences.

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Advancing the Strategy
  • Reinforcement and practice activities.

  • For younger students:

    • Use word cards prepared prior to the experience. Students identify each one and find it in the story.

    • Use some of the word cards for spelling words. Students practice saying/signing, fingerspelling, and writing each word.

    • Read the sentences to the students. Ask them to “read” the sentences giving them as much help as necessary for success.

    • Students sequence the pictures and put them into a photo album. Help them write a sentence about each picture.

    • Write one or two sentences from the language experience story on a large sheet of paper. Give each student a paper, read the sentences, illustrate the sentences with original artwork.

  • For older students:

    • Use the steps in a process writing approach. After the students have written their stories, share them with a small group of students who respond to the composition (commenting on parts that are well-done and asking for clarification on parts that are unclear).

    • Students revise composition and return to response groups until they are satisfied with the content. Students edit composition for changes in syntax and punctuation commensurate with their skill levels.

    • When composition is in final form, students may select formats for publication .

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