Sentence fluency is the hardest trait to master. It’s more than just knowing how to write complete and grammatically correct sentences. Fluency requires that the variety of sentences flow together easily, smoothly, and musically. In order to achieve that, students first must recognize great fluency in their reading.
- Make sure students can find simple vs. compound v. complex sentences.
- Make sure they notice varied sentence beginnings, lengths, and types.
- Teach them to notice figurative language and how it adds a musical quality to the sentences (not to mention the additional phrases add length to the sentence).
- Have students read excerpts aloud noticing the word patterns created by alliteration and parallelism.
Once students are hearing great fluency, it’s time to move to step 2–Get them to revise their own writing to increase the fluency and readability. (NOTE: If students can’t apply the skills to a revision, they will not be able to apply it to a next new writing. Let them work on focused revisions first.)
Christy Gliva, sixth grade instructional coach at Perry Meridian Academy in Indianapolis, IN realized the importance of teaching students how to revise their sentences for fluency. Students were simply replacing weak word choice with stronger synonyms, thinking they were improving their sentence fluency. So she developed a mini-lesson series that targeted four different strategies for revising sentence fluency. Within each lesson she found herself embedding grammar and conventions lessons. (Remember, sentence fluency and conventions are closely related.)
As she taught specific strategies for revising sentences, Christy slowly built a poster with her students. Download a copy for your own use. What a fabulous mini-lesson series, Christy! Thanks for sharing.