Literacy 4-6

Manipulatives: Sentence Construction


Providing physical representations of parts of a sentence activates learners' mental processes. Actively manipulating sentence structure and word order deepens a student's understanding of the way sentences are formed.

Use It in the Classroom

Starting at 1:06, watch how these students use color-coded blocks to show parts of speech in the sentences they have written. After writing, students represent each word or phrase in the sentence with the appropriate block.

  • Teachers can use laminated paper and whiteboard markers to create reusable manipulatives for students to build and change sentences. Students can work on Foundational Writing Skills by creating simple sentences then revising them with more descriptive language. Color coding the paper to match parts of speech can reinforce students' understanding of Syntax as well.
  • Design It into Your Product

    Videos are chosen as examples of strategies in action. These choices are not endorsements of the products or evidence of use of research to develop the feature.

    See how Sentence Ninja has created a multi-level, multi-player app to help learners improve Syntax. The game format can help increase learner Motivation to practice creating sentences.

  • Ways to move words and phrases can be integrated into products for students to be able to craft sentences. Having a bank of words and phrases to choose from can also reduce demands on Working Memory and increase Vocabulary.
  • Factors Supported by this Strategy