Building Sentences – Schools
Once children can speak in sentences, they can use language to make requests, comment, ask and answer questions, and a number of other purposes! Children’s sentences become more grammatically complex and more detailed as they are exposed to more complex language. Children will produce longer, more grammatically complex spoken sentences before they are able to produce written sentences using these grammatical structures.
The complexities of language include knowledge and skills linked to accurate use of:
- The parts of language e.g. pronouns
- Tense linked to their concept of time
- Formulation of questions
- Language purpose e.g. clarification, summary, explanation, planning, persuasion
Young people also learn to:
- Explain the rules of grammar
- Consider the interests of their listener
- Use intonation to indicate meaning within a sentence or phrase
Your child will produce longer, more grammatically complex spoken sentences before he/she is able to produce written sentences using these grammatical structures. Sentence building stems from spoken communication with others for a range of purposes.
- Give the child good models of language, i.e. use complete concise sentences.
- Expand the child’s utterance, e.g. if the child says “kicking the ball”, expand with “Yes, the man is kicking the ball”.
- If the child produces an error, repeat the child’s utterance modelling the correct word or grammatical structure. E.g. if the child says “the dentist looked at all my tooths”, respond with “he looked at all your teeth, did he?”, emphasising the key word.
- Give children ‘thinking time’. All children benefit from being given time to plan and organise what they want to say.
- Link lots of words together and may use joining words such as ‘and’.
- Ask lots of questions e.g. What? Where? Why?
- Use the grammatical words (e.g. is, was, has, the, a) i.e. “the man is eating” instead of “man eating”.
- Increased use of past tense and 3rd person singular e.g. he drinks, she eats, the cat jumped. Children will still over generalise irregular verb endings at this age e.g. “throwed” (instead of “threw”).
- Use pronouns his/hers, they/theirs, him/her, ours, himself/herself/yourself/ourselves.
Year 1 - 2
- Use well formed sentences with more details.
- Use some irregular past tense e.g. “I drank all my milk”, “She took my teddy” but may still make some errors.
- Start to use words: ‘if’, ‘because’, ‘so’, ‘could’.
- Show that they can use language to reason and persuade e.g. “Can I go outside because it’s stopped raining?”
Year 3 - 4
- Ask lots of questions to find out specific information including ‘how’ and ‘why’ e.g. “How do we know burglars can’t get in?”
- Use an imaginative range of descriptive words in sentences e.g. “Suddenly, he saw a huge hairy creature”
- Use more complicated grammar and different ways to join phrases to help explain or justify an event e.g. “It was scary because even the man with the dog looked worried, so we decided to get out of there”
Year 5 - 6
- Use a wide range of regular and unusual word endings, with few errors being made e.g. Fought, fell, brought, geese, fish.
- Use long and complex sentence structures and more complex joining words to make language flow e.g. ‘Meanwhile’, ‘therefore’ or ‘yet’.
- Use complex grammar and sentences effectively to communicate in different ways to clarify, summarise, explain choices and plan.
- Uses language to reason and persuade.
- Explain some rules of grammar and know when a sentence is not grammatically correct.
- Sentences average about 7-10 words –longer in stories than in conversation.