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Syntax skills help us understand how sentences work—the meanings behind word order, structure, and punctuation. By providing supports for developing Syntax skills, we can help students understand and write increasingly complex texts.
Components of Syntax include:
Syntactic development begins in childhood and continues through early adulthood. Written language typically uses more complex Syntax than oral language. In particular, writing that incorporates academic language uses more sophisticated Syntax and Vocabulary than the social language we use in informal conversations and writing.
Syntax awareness is an essential metalinguistic skill that refers to the ability to consciously reflect on and manipulate Syntax. As students advance through school, they are required to comprehend and write increasingly more complex texts with the support of their Syntax skills and awareness. Reading is critical for the development of Syntax skills, and students in turn use those skills to read increasingly challenging texts to learn class material. Students also are required to communicate more complicated ideas in their writing, and one way they do this is by properly using Syntax to effectively combine sentences.
Teachers can support language development by using and providing Syntax that is appropriately leveled (e.g., short, simple structure for young students).
Physically acting out a text enhances reading comprehension.
Audiobooks allow students to hear fluent reading and to experience books above their reading skills.
Writing can become personally meaningful when students have an actual audience and a real purpose for communicating with that audience.
Students practice making and finding meaning in their reading through a book club model.
Checklists and rubrics help students develop their abilities to self-assess and revise their writing.
When peers are able to work together to plan, draft, edit, and revise their compositions, their writing quality improves.
Expressing ideas through visuals and audio, and understanding others' ideas in these forms, is as critical in today's world as traditional reading and writing.
Daily review strengthens previous learning and can lead to fluent recall.
Dictation can allow students with transcription difficulties to still participate in the writing process and generate ideas.
When teachers provide explicit instruction in comprehension strategies and model when to use them, students learn how to flexibly apply them to make meaning of texts.
Explicitly teaching strategies for different genres, like narrative or persuasive writing, helps students write for different purposes and audiences.
Research shows that, along with traditional reading comprehension strategies, students use unique strategies to read the non-linear, hyperlinked structure of online texts.
Explicitly teaching strategies for planning, writing, and revising texts improves students' writing quality.
Increasing how much students write improves both their writing and their reading.
Providing constructive feedback supports students' writing development by letting them know how to improve their writing.
As students walk through stations working in small groups, the social and physical nature of the learning supports deeper understanding.
In guided inquiry, teachers help students use their own language for constructing knowledge by active listening and questioning.
Spending time with new content helps move concepts and ideas into Long-term Memory.
Independent reading promotes literacy by emphasizing student choice with teacher support in selecting books, as well as by making time for free reading.
Practicing until achieving several error-free attempts is critical for retention.
As students work with and process information by discussing, organizing, and sharing it together, they deepen their understanding.
Full sentence manipulatives allow students to practice producing more complex Syntax and writing.
Providing physical representations of parts of a sentence activates learners' mental processes.
By talking through their thinking at each step of a process, teachers can model what learning looks like.
Instruction in multiple formats allows students to activate different cognitive skills to understand and remember the steps they are to take in their literacy work.
Visuals help students recognize relationships within words and sentences to develop literacy skills.
Playful activities can support the development of learners' Metacognition and also inspire their narratives and writing.
When students read models of the type of writing they are doing, they can identify effective elements to incorporate in their writing.
Reading aloud regularly exposes students to new and familiar Vocabulary and texts.
Reading aloud books about skills children are learning provides another model for their development.
Through one-on-one conferences, teachers can provide individual support to each student to deepen comprehension and interest in reading.
When students explain to others, they deepen their understanding and gain confidence in their learning.
Students build their confidence, strategy use, and comprehension by reading and rereading books.
Books for vision differences support reading development for learners with visual needs.
Reading materials of varying complexity and levels are necessary for all students to experience success.
Multicultural and diverse books are critical for supporting all students.
Providing varied types of resources that align with interests of individual students supports overall literacy development.
With figurative language and creative sentence structure, poetry supports the development of a deeper understanding of the different ways language makes meaning.
Books on social and emotional learning (SEL) topics, such as developing empathy and productive persistence, help teach these skills.
When students monitor their comprehension, performance, and use of strategies when reading and writing, they build their Metacognition.
Sentence frames or stems provide language support for students' writing and participation in academic discussions.
Bringing students' every day literacy practice of texting into the classroom provides regular, low-stakes practice communicating with authentic audiences.
Transforming written text into audio supports learning by activating different parts of a learner's brain for comprehension.
When students explain their thinking process aloud, they recognize the strategies they use and solidify their understanding.
Students develop literacy skills by listening to and speaking with others in informal ways.
Providing visuals to introduce, support, or review instruction activates more cognitive processes to support learning.
Writing conferences allow students to share, reflect on, and receive feedback about their writing, which promotes Motivation for revising.
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