Learning to Write Sentences | Sentence Structure - FamilyEducation

Learning to Write: Sentence Stacks Activity

In this writing activity, your child will learn how to construct sentences. Help your child practice his writing skills by showing him how to "stack" sentences.

Two Smiling Students Writing in Notebooks

There's no better way to teach your child about sentence building than by literally building sentences. Because LEGO bricks are stackable, it's very easy to show your child how you can "stack" details onto a basic sentence. However, the object of this activity is to help him learn to make better sentences, not to challenge his fine motor skills. If your child has difficulty with fine motor skills, it's better to use Mega Bloks than LEGO bricks. They are bigger and easier to manipulate.

Skills Being Practiced

  • Sentence building
  • Analytical thinking
  • Basic parts of speech
  • Fine motor skills
  • Sorting

What You Need

  • White sticky labels (or slips of white paper and tape)
  • LEGO bricks or Mega Bloks
  • Markers

Get Ready to Play

1. Have your child separate the blocks into piles by color. Once they are separated, have him sort each color into piles of small, medium, and large blocks.
2. Choose one color to represent verbs, one to represent nouns, one to represent adjectives, one to represent articles, and one to represent adverbs.
3. Brainstorm nouns with your child, writing each word on a label. Then do the same for the other parts of speech.
4. Stick the labels to the smooth side of the appropriately colored blocks. Make sure to leave a few blocks representing each part of speech unlabeled, so you can demonstrate how to build sentences later.
5. Ask your child to make noun towers, verb towers, adjective towers, article towers, and adverb towers.

How to Play: Building Sentences

1. Create small labels for articles such as a, an, the, this, and that. Stick these labels on the smallest blocks, so your child can visualize them as small parts of the sentence.
2. Demonstrate how to build a basic sentence, using an article, noun, and verb. For example, your sentence may say, "A dog runs." If you have a LEGO table or LEGO mat, build sentences from left to right, just as your child would read them. Otherwise, build your sentences in stacks from top to bottom. In that case, your LEGO stack will have the word "runs" on the bottom, the word "dog" in the middle, and the word "A" on top.
3. Ask your child to build a basic sentence.
4. Next, ask her to think about building onto that sentence. For instance, if her LEGO stack says, "The alligator ate,"" ask questions like: What color is the alligator? What did the alligator eat? How did the alligator eat? By the time you're done asking questions, she may have built a sentence as complicated as, "The green alligator sloppily ate the quick fish."

Extend the Learning

Challenge your child to build sentence stacks as tall and as complicated as she can make them, connecting sentences to make paragraphs and short stories, if she is able.
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