A sentence is the foundation on which almost all written language is created. If you cannot write a complete sentence, you won’t be able to write a paragraph. If you can’t write a paragraph, you won’t be able to write a story or produce a report. Creating well-written sentences is the key.

In order to get good at just about anything, you have to practice. The more you practice, the better you get. This is true not only in sports and musical instruments, but in all the things we do, including writing. By practicing every week, you’ll develop your writing talent so that creating exciting sentences will become as natural to you as a free throw is to an NBA player. All sports stars and musicians will tell you that they started playing when they were young and then got better by practicing.

A vocabulary word or spelling word sentence is a sentence written by a student that:

  1. Contains at least one underlined vocabulary or spelling word.
  2. Is at least nine words in length.
  3. Uses interesting words (Try verbs other than saw, had, like, went, got, etc. Use new and exciting words. Exciting words produce exciting sentences. Check your thesaurus for ideas).
  4. Has details. Describe the nouns you used. Think about size, age, condition, location, color, emotions, and feelings. If you wrote about something that happened, see if you can add why it happened.
  5. Doesn’t have errors. Spelling sentences should be checked so that they do not contain any spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors. A spelling sentence should represent a student’s best writing.

Sample sentences:

  • Jonah decided to get his homework done early so that he didn’t have to worry about it later.
  • Jack’s pet frog, Lizzy, couldn’t go to the movies because they didn’t allow pets.

What to Do:

Choose a word from the list. Concentrate on the word you want to use. Picture it in your mind. Think, think, think. Add details to the picture you are seeing. (If you don’t like the picture you’ve created for this word, wipe the slate clean and make a new picture.)

Now, describe what you are seeing. Write down what you just said. Bingo! You’ve got yourself a great sentence.

Work at it.
Sometimes it just takes asking more of yourself. Give your sentences your very best effort. Remember: There is not much reward without effort.

What NOT to Do

To help you practice writing about lots of different things, your vocabulary and spelling sentences should not begin with the words I, My, or We.
“I have…”
“We saw…”
“My friend…”

A lot of times when you write, it is perfectly fine to start sentences with these words, especially in your journal. But for vocabulary and spelling sentences, starting with those words can be limiting. Think and write about other people (not just your friends!), other places, and other things.

Do not always write about the first thing you think of when you picture a word. Keep playing with words and seeing them in new situations.

Do not write sentences in which people are talking or saying things. We will be working on writing conversation later.

Let’s look at some sentences.

It was a sunny day.
This sentence doesn’t have any mistakes, but it is not a good spelling sentence because it isn’t very creative, it doesn’t provide many details, and it contains less than nine words.

I went to the store to buy some cereal.
This sentence has nine words, but it starts with the word I and it is boring.

He loved learning about space because he wanted to be an astronaut someday.
Excellent sentence!

Good luck! I can’t wait to read your sentences!