5 Benefits of Sentence Combining in the ELA Classroom

5 Benefits of Sentence Combining

I love language. There are seemingly a million different ways to convey messages and write out our thoughts. Knowing the ins and outs of syntax is at the heart of learning how to become a strong writer. That is why I include sentence-combining exercises in my classroom at the start of almost every class period! I want students to actively focus on syntax and think about how they convey their messages to the world. 

Syntax is the structural framework that governs the arrangement of words and phrases within sentences. As ELA teachers, guiding our students to navigate the many intricacies of syntax and master the art of sentence combining is crucial for fostering clarity, coherence, and sophistication in their writing. 

Today, I’m going to share what syntax is and what sentence combining entails and explore five compelling benefits of incorporating sentence combining exercises into our teaching repertoire.

Understanding Syntax:

Syntax refers to the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences. It encompasses the rules and conventions governing sentence structure, including word order, sentence length, punctuation, and grammatical relationships between words. 

By mastering syntax, students gain the ability to craft sentences that communicate their ideas effectively and convey meaning with precision and clarity. Furthermore, developing a profound understanding of syntax also helps students understand and analyze text on a higher, more rhetorical level.

To gain a better understanding of syntax, students first need to know about the parts of speech and sentence structure! And even thought these are skills and concepts that high school students should know, it is always helpful to review these concepts again.

Exploring Sentence Combining:

Sentence combining is a writing technique that involves merging two or more simple sentences into a single, more complex sentence. This process encourages students to experiment with sentence structure, vary sentence length and style, and enhance the fluency and cohesion of their writing. 

By combining sentences, students learn to manipulate syntax, employ a diverse range of sentence patterns, write with a varsity of sentence types, and convey their ideas with greater sophistication and nuance. In essence, practicing sentence combining helps students become better writers.

In my classroom, I like to use these sentence-combining bell ringers to help students actively practice their syntax and writing skills. To make the warm-up activity more fun, I like to add challenges throughout the year. I’ll ask students to rewrite the same sentence three different ways, or I’ll ask them to try to use as few words as possible without compromising any of the content. 

This sentence-combining bell ringer bundle includes enough sentence-combining activities for an entire year of instruction, and it also includes a quick mini-lesson teaching students how to combine sentences!

Five Benefits of Sentence Combining:

  1. Enhances Writing Fluency: Sentence-combining exercises encourage students to practice composing sentences fluidly and confidently. By manipulating syntax and experimenting with sentence structure, students develop fluency in expressing their ideas in writing and become more adept at crafting sentences that flow smoothly.
  2. Promotes Sentence Variety: Sentence combining promotes sentence structure diversity by introducing students to a range of sentence patterns and styles. By combining short, simple sentences into longer, more complex ones, students learn to vary sentence length, rhythm, and syntax, creating more engaging and dynamic prose.
  3. Improves Clarity and Coherence: Through sentence combining, students learn to clarify their ideas and improve the coherence of their writing. By consolidating related ideas into cohesive sentences, students eliminate redundancy and repetition, streamline their writing, and ensure that their ideas are presented logically and coherently.
  4. Strengthens Syntax Awareness: Sentence-combining exercises provide students with opportunities to develop a deeper understanding of syntax and sentence structure. By analyzing and manipulating sentences, students become more attuned to the grammatical relationships between words, the role of punctuation, and the nuances of sentence construction.
  5. Fosters Creativity and Expressiveness: Sentence combining encourages students to unleash their creativity and explore different ways of expressing themselves through language. By experimenting with syntax and sentence structure, students discover new avenues for conveying their ideas, imbuing their writing with individuality, voice, and style.

If you are interested in giving sentence combining a try, I am sharing an entire week of sentence combining bell ringers with you! To receive the bell ringers, click here and sign up!

To receive the these sentence combining bell ringers, click here and sign up!

Incorporating sentence-combining exercises into your teaching repertoire offers many benefits for students, empowering them to wield syntax with confidence and finesse in their writing endeavors.

Additional sentence combining resources:
Sentence Expanding by Room 213
Sentence Structure Types by Presto Plans
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