A Division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Heinemann

Sentence Composing for Middle School

A Worktext on Sentence Variety and Maturity

Don Killgallon, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

ISBN 978-0-86709-419-0 / 0-86709-419-2 / 1997 / 144pp / Paperback
Imprint: Heinemann
Availability: In Stock
Grade Level: 6th - 8th
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With the first edition of his book, Don Killgallon changed the way thousands of high school English teachers and their students look at language, literature, and writing by focusing on the sentence. In this revised edition, Killgallon presents the same proven methodology but offers all-new writing exercises designed specifically for the middle school student.

Unlike traditional grammar books that emphasize the parsing of sentences, this worktext asks students to imitate the sentence styles of professional writers, making the sentence composition process an enjoyable and challenging one. Killgallon teaches subliminally, nontechnically--the ways real writers compose their sentences, the ways students subsequently intuit within their own writing.

Designed to produce sentence maturity and variety, the worktext offers extensive practice in four sentence-manipulating techniques: sentence unscrambling, sentence imitating, sentence combining, and sentence expanding. All of the activities are based on model sentences written by widely respected authors. They are designed to teach students structures they should but seldom use. The rationale is that imitation and practice are as valuable in gaining competence and confidence in written language production as they are in oral language production.

Since the practices have proven successful for the great majority of students who have used them in all kinds of schools, it's demonstrably true that Sentence Composing can work anywhere--in any school, with any student.

How Sentence Composing Works
1. Sentence Unscrambling
2. Sentence Imitating
3. Sentence Combining
4. Sentence Expanding

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To: Don and Jenny Killgallon
From: Mark Phillips, grade 8 Language Arts/Reading teacher

I absolutely appreciate your collections of wonderful sentences and the way of breaking them into chunks. With the Common Core looming large, I will be trying to work in a lot of nonfiction sentences as well as the fiction sentences.

I also like the terminology based upon function that you use to refer to sentence parts.  It serves as a great replacement for the jargon that often confuses and frustrates students.

I have created a weekly activity, based upon your work and some of the work of Jeff Anderson, which I call "Monday's Model."  At first, I used to just ask students to imitate the sentences, but I found that my eighth graders struggled to accurately imitate the sentences until I visibly broke them into chunks and had students try to create similar chunks.

Email planningservices@heinemann.com if you would like to contact Don Killgallon directly about professional development support.

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