Mini-Lessons to help students develop SENTENCE FLUENCY:
Ahead of time write two versions of the same story.
Read story #1 aloud. Ask the students how the writer did with writing some long and some short sentences. What does the writer need to increase? (long sentences). Reread the story and underline the first word of each sentence. Did the writer do a good job of beginning the sentences different each time?
Now do the same thing with story #2. Help the students to see that the writer of story #2 does a better job of writing interesting sentences.
Write a story in front of your students. As you write think aloud for the students about how you are paying attention to the length of your sentences and how you begin sentences. Let them give you ideas for beginning some of the sentences.
Put a piece of student writing on an overhead transparency. You can use a sample from your class or a sample from another class. Be sure you have the student's permission to use his or her writing in this way.
Have students look for examples of both long and short sentences. Underline the first word or two of each sentence. Have students look for examples of sentences which have different beginnings.
Provide students with a few sentences which begin in the same way. Have them work in pairs to rewrite the sentences, varying beginnings to make them more interesting.
Encourage students to use the information they have learned to help them write longer sentences. Where could they combine shorter sentences into one? Help them to see that adding 'and' between 3 or 4 sentences does not make a good sentence.