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Language and Communication Understand that written words convey meaning  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.


To give pupils practice in reading familiar words in a meaningful context and in the decoding of less familiar words.

Early years skill:Reading
Early years typical range:40-60+m
P-scales/Nat. Curriculum skill:English Reading
P-scales/Nat. Curriculum level:P8
TAP skill:Reading
TAP level:TAP48
Section:Early Years (0-5yrs) info; Primary (5-11yrs) info; Secondary (11-16yrs) info
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Activity/strategy name and materials required How to do the activity Key principles for doing the activity and comments
Cutting up a sentence

A sheet of paper or the child's writing book

A pen

A long piece of card (to write sentences on)

A large marker pen


1. Explain that you are going to play some sentence games and need to begin by writing a sentence.

2. Start from the child's experience so that the writing will have meaning for them. For example: "Tell me what you did last night.", "Tell me about your friend."

3. If necessary, and appropriate, discuss how to add to (or enrich) the sentence with an "extra clause", or an "adverb", or "adjectives" (see the comments for an explanation).

4. Write the agreed sentence in the child's book or on paper (in preparation for writing it on the card), encouraging the pupil to remember the sentence as you write it slowly. Constantly read what you have written so far, asking s/he to repeat what it was you said.

5. Ask the child to read the sentence to you as you write it slowly on the long piece of card.

6. Ask the child to cut up the card into separate words.

7. Re-read the sentence together then muddle up the separate pieces of card.

8. Ask the child to re-make the sentence, encouraging re-reading.

9. Ask the child to close his/her eyes, take a word away, ask the child to deduce the missing word by re-reading.

This activity demonstrates for pupils the link between speaking/reading/writing.

It gives them a purpose in reading and re-reading.

It develops the skill of holding words of a sentence in their heads as they write them.

Some examples of enriching a sentence might take you from 'I went to the park' to 'I went to the park until my mum called me' (extra clause - underlined) or 'I went excitedly to the park' (adverb - which describes an action word - such as "went") or 'I went to the dark, scary park' (adjectives - which describe things such as a park).

If the child struggles to identify one of the words cut up from the card encourage his/her use of decoding strategies, for example: (1) what might the word be, given the topic we are talking about (and remembering the sentence); (2) sounding out any familiar letters or combinations of letters in the word; (3) what words might fit into the sentence to make it sound right.

Many extensions may be made to this activity. For example, the child might be more involved in the physical writing process.

Initial letters might be cut. Can the child match them to the correct words?

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