Sentence Composing for Middle School: Worktext on Sentence Variety and Maturity

Sentence Composing for Middle School: Worktext on Sentence Variety and Maturity

# 018187

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Item #: 018187
ISBN: 9780867094190
Grades: 6-8

Product Description:

What is a sentence? Only the most basic component of all writing and perhaps its most neglected. This course goes a long way toward correcting that situation. The general idea is that just as we acquire good oral language skills by hearing/listening, we can acquire good written language skills by observing and mimicking excellent writers. Using model sentences written by professionals, the student is taught four basic sentence manipulation techniques sentence unscrambling, sentence imitating, sentence combining, and sentence expanding. Each of these techniques is developed through a series of activities, 33 in all, each of which provide one to three practice exercises. To give you an idea, Unit 1, Sentence Unscrambling, Activity 7 gives the student practice in identifying and removing comma splices. Unit 3, Sentence Imitating, Activity 22 includes two practice exercises that require the student to practice adding words, adding phrases, and adding clauses as they combine, then imitate. If this sounds just a little like grammar, well, you would be correct. These are exercises in applied grammar. After all, composing sentences is the "other side of the coin" from dissecting them (the basic activity of most grammar programs). All in all, even though this is a very skill-targeted course, the value of the skill makes it an excellent choice for the writing component of any particular middle school year's language arts. A reference in the back of the book includes the author's original sentences which serves as an answer key of sorts.136 pgs, pb ~ Janice
Category Description for Sentence Composing Approach:

A perfect melding of grammar, composition, and literature, the sentence-composing method starts with high quality sentence models from literary masters and then carefully gives students specific tools and the opportunity to practice using those tools throughout a series of books. As you would expect with any organic methodology, there is both a cohesion and an expansion through the Elementary, Middle School, and High School courses. Each are targeted with a progression of skill-building that focuses on and starts with sentences, dissects and uses grammar, and builds into composing coherent communications.

Central to all levels, is the use of writing models – sentence examples from a huge collection of best-loved and critically acclaimed writers. Think of these writers as mentors and the process of unpacking, manipulating, and imitating their sentences as a personal tutorial in the art of composition. Sentences from hundreds of writers are matched to grade level by familiarity with their works. For instance, in elementary courses you might see Katherine Patterson or Roald Dahl. In middle school it might be Jack London, Madeleine L’Engle, JK Rowling, or even Stephen King. In high school you will find Harper Lee, George Orwell, or Maya Angelou.

Multiple techniques (tools) are taught and practiced. Some of these include matching, exchanging, unscrambling, combining, imitating, expanding, and multiplying. Each tool/technique is explained and illustrated using sample sentences. Often, the underlying grammatical constructs are examined as well. The student undertakes step-by-step tasks and benefits from the clearly stated imitating expectations – and may well be surprised by the high quality of compositional results. Where possible and useful, “reference” sections in the back of books serve as an answer key.

This series has grown and matured over time. Sentence Composing was the first (late 90s); Getting Started and the other courses are a parallel series that emerged over the next two decades (2006-2020). These later sets of series expand concepts introduced in the original Sentence Composing. The Grammar series delves a little deeper into the grammar aspects (2006-2008). Paragraphs (2012-14) and Nonfiction (2015-2017) expands sentence composing techniques to particular types of composition. The newest series is the Getting Started series (2018-2020) which serves as an introduction to the sentence composing method. All volumes are by Don and Jenny Killgallon and share a focus on sentence composing (the most neglected aspect of written composition). All use model/mentors based on the belief that imitation is the conduit to originality; a needed link in creation.

It may be a little confusing to know when to use what course. In general, use the original Sentence Composing course as a summary course for a student that is in the upper level of the grade range. For instance, 4th/5th grade for the Elementary; 7th/8th grade for the Middle School. If your student is in the lower levels of the grade range (i.e. 2nd/3rd; 5th/6th) use the Getting Started book and work through the series.

Each of the sentence composing method worktexts is a stand-alone course designed to produce sentence maturity and variety and would serve as the composition/applied grammar portion of a language arts program. For elementary years, add phonics/reading, spelling, and handwriting. For middle school years, add literature and possibly a systematic grammar. For the high school years, if coupled with a literature program, the series serves as an English credit. ~ Janice

Category Description for Other Writing Programs:

These materials contain both instruction and writing assignments but are not as broad in scope (types of writing) as the comprehensive programs.

Primary Subject
Grade Start
Grade End
Brand Name
Heinemann Publishing
0.45 (lbs.)
9.0" x 6.38" x 0.38"
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Why did you choose this?
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We needed this book for a co-op class. We hear it is good for even high schoolers.
Judy V on Sep 8, 2016
We needed this book for a co-op class. We hear it is good for even high schoolers.
Judy V on Sep 8, 2016
I wanted my students to work on sentence structure and variety.
Thomas K on Jun 11, 2016
I wanted my students to work on sentence structure and variety.
Thomas K on Jun 11, 2016
Is this a consumable book with space for students to write their answers?
A shopper on Aug 7, 2018
BEST ANSWER: This is not consumable. The activities consist of various sentences/paragraphs that the student rewrites or imitates on his/her own paper.
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