#1MinCPD: Steady Sentences

Reading Time: 1 minute

How can we help emerging writers?

Here is a strategy to try with writers who are yet to master retaining and forming a sentence they wish to write.

Count, Repeat, Write

  • Ask the pupil to orally plan their sentence. This may need some assistance if the pupil is struggling with ideas or lacking vocabulary.
  • Model saying the sentence aloud, asking the pupil to repeat the sentence after you. Repeat this step until the pupil can orally say the sentence without prompts.
  • Next, orally repeat the sentence once more, this time counting each word on fingers as you say the sentence.
  • In the pupil’s book, use a pencil and ruler to draw a horizontal line for each word. Space them out.
  • Repeat the sentence orally, pointing to a horizontal line as you say each word.
  • Ask the pupil to write each word onto the drawn lines to form their sentence.
  • Either observe silently or leave the pupil to complete the sentence. Once it is written, check the sentence together, making any adjustments to omitted or misplaced words.
  • Repeat for each sentence, focusing on quality not quantity and remembering that each idea may feel like Everest for the pupil.

Why is it a good strategy?

This method has worked incredibly well with emerging writers in my classes over the years (ages ranging from 6 to 11). It really slows the thinking process when forming sentences and allows for just the right amount of autonomy/support with their writing. Over time, pupils begin to develop independence in writing basic sentences.


Although spelling is very important, try to consider pupil self-esteem when checking their independent sentence. Focus on sentence formation and structure first.

Hanna Beech

Hanna Beech has been teaching for ten years and has a range of experience across Key Stages 1 and 2 in a large Primary School in Kent. She is a phase leader for Years 3 and 4, and also leads on teaching and learning for the setting. Her absolute passion is pupil wellbeing and involvement, and finding ways to ensure that learning is optimised for all. She is fascinated by all subjects relating to education, but spends a lot of time reading around the science behind learning and the learning brain.

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