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NP + V + NP2
(Rachel has a puppy.)
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This grammatical structure is the most common pattern used by young children. The pattern consists of two NPs. The first noun phrase (NP1) is the subject of the sentence. The second noun phrase  (NP2) is the object of the subject or NP1. The verb links the subject (NP1) to the object (NP2).

During English language instruction, student activities can be recorded, practiced, and generalized to new or novel settings. (e.g. Mia has a rabbit; What does Mia have? )


Teacher actions are highlighted

Introduce students  to linking verbs

Tell the students 'linking verbs' are verbs that bridge noun phrases ( and more).

Write on the board:

  • Harry threw........

  • Mia came.........

  • Lucy has.......

    • Ask: 'What is missing?'

    • Prompt the students to tell why the phrases are incomplete.

Teacher drops a pencil.

  • Ask: Ms. Smith dropped (What?)

  • Write noun phrase, 'a pencil', on the board.

  • Write the English sentence 

    • Ms. Smith dropped a pencil. 

      • Show the relationship of words & signs.

      • Show students that the verb 'drops' links Ms. Smith and a pencil.

  • Write the English sentence 'Mary stayed home.'

    • Relate the words and signs to the words on the board.

    • Show the students the link 'stayed' with Mary ....home.

Using have/ has

  • One student takes the object out of the box.

  • Ask: What does ‘N’ have?

  • Write the sentence on the board: Emma has a pencil.

  • Students tell how the sentence is different from the one on the board.

    • The sentence uses ‘has’ instead of ‘have’.

  • Show the students that the verb is different but has the same meaning.

    • I have…, You have… She has… He has…. ‘N’ has…., They have…

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Advancing the Strategy

Teacher actions are highlighted

  • A student takes the object out of his bag.

    • Ask the class: What does Mia have?

    • Response: Mia has a car.

    • Write the sentence on the board.

  • Students read (say/sign/ fingerspell) the sentence with you.

  • Use a box with an object in it.

    • Say: I see something. What do you think I see?

  • Model the sentence for the students: Ms. Smith sees a..............

    • Prompt students to guess what Ms. Smith sees."Ms.Smith sees what?"

  • Ask the students to point to the word (verb) that links 'Ms.Smith and '..........'. (e.g., a car, a bird,a book).

  • Put a new object in the box and have a child come and see what it is.

  • Ask: What do you see?

  • Guide the student in the response: I see a worm.

    • Write each sentence on the board.

  • Repeat the activity several times.

  • Show the sentence structure using a name in the subject position, e.g., Emma sees a worm.

  • Write directions on a pieces of paper. 

    • Throw the beanbag.

    • Kick the ball. 

    • Drink some water.

    • Fold the papers and put them in a basket.

  • Students select a paper; read it (with help, if necessary), and perform the action.

  • Ask: What did N (student's name) do?

    • Write the English sentence: N found a spider.

    • Show the difference in the verb on the paper strip (find) and the verb you wrote (found).

    • Students give the sentence in 3rd person (Erika found a spider).

  • Student selects another paper, performs the action, says/signs a sentence.

    • Write the sentence under the other sentences on the board.

    • Show the pattern of the structure.

    • Have students circle the linking verb.

  • Incorporate the targeted structure into language experience stories and all other activities during the school day and emphasize its use.

  • Encourage children to use the targeted structure whenever appropriate throughout the day in speech/sign/writing.

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Note: Click on the worksheet to download a copy.

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