Steady Writing Sentences

Reading time: < 1

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...
Read more about Hanna Beech

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.

One thought on “Steady Writing Sentences

  1. I use this strategy in my Kindergarten classroom. I call them magic lines. I model thinking aloud what my sentence will be. Then,I model counting the words in the sentence outloud, and then I draw the “magic lines” to begin my sentence.

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