Want kids to get up-close and personal with their sentences? To really pay attention to the words an author chooses, or to the way punctuation works in a sentence? Try illustrating them!
I don’t just mean drawing a picture of what the sentence is about. (Although that can be part of it.) I mean carefully reading a sentence, observing details, and making notes about those details using words and colorful images.
Kind of like a sentence mind map or maybe even a very relaxed version of a sentence diagram, illustrating sentences is a simple and creative way to reinforce many writing concepts.
- Pick a sentence from something your child has written or from a favorite book. The first example is from the wonderful, Rosie Revere, Engineer, by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts. (Affiliate link)
- Write it in large letters in the middle of a page.
- Have your child read it carefully and make as many observations as possible. (Observations can be related to punctuation, word choice, capitalization, or anything else your child has been learning about sentences.)
- Kids can use markers or colored pencils to write and illustrate their observations in any way they like.
- Discuss what you both notice about the sentence. Why do you think the author used this particular word? Can you think of an alternative? What if I used this word instead? What is that comma doing? Why is that word capitalized?
That’s it! A super simple way to really get to know those sentences.
By the way, raise your hand if you remember how to diagram a sentence. (The old-school version.) I can’t say that I do. Sorry, Mrs. McBurney.