Sentence Puzzles Routines

Do you do sentence puzzles in your primary classroom?  This is one of my favorite ways to reinforce fluency and language skills for all primary kiddos, especially ELLS, in productive group work, literacy stations or centers, and as a guided reading warmup.   Here is the routine for how I used these in my first grade classroom.

How Do We Do Sentence Puzzles?

The goal of sentence puzzles is simple: Put words in order to make a complete sentence.

The first thing I always have kids do is read each of the words to practice fluency.  We do this together if we are using it as a guided reading warmup.  Or they read them on their own if they are doing in in literacy stations or group work.

Next, kids simply order the words to make a sentence.


Last, I ask kids to reread the sentence to self-check.  This forces them to practice the "Does it make sense?" reading strategy and gives ELL kids an opportunity to hear our language structure.


Once they have checked their sentence, they record it on our recording sheet for group work or literacy stations.

If we are doing this as a guided reading warmup, we either skip out on the writing portion for time, or I just have them write the sentence quickly on their dry erase board.

In productive groups, I love doing a carousel activity with these.  Where we choose "on grade level puzzles" and put a different puzzle at each station.  Then groups of 2-4 kids rotate through each station for 2 minutes each and order the puzzles and record them on their recording sheet.  Anything where we are up moving around and practicing literacy skills is a win! :)

Why Do We Do Sentence Puzzles?

With this one activity I can reach all of my kiddos:
-My good readers who need to practice fluency with high frequency and decodable words.
-My readers who struggle with errors for meaning (Does it make sense?)
-My ELL sweethearts who struggle with our language structure and need practice with grammar and syntax.

Cooper begged to try one out for me this afternoon while I was prepping the materials.  And although he could read most of the words, he struggled putting them in order.  It was difficult for him to hear that his sentence didn't make sentence grammatically!  And he's not even an ELL kiddo.

On top of sentence puzzles challenging all of my kids academically, it's also engaging for kids.

Whether it is a reinforcement or review activity or a language sequencing exercise, my kiddos LOVE these puzzles!  They are engaging, they are fun and they are easy to self-check!

But what about those emerging and non-readers?  Level A and B sentence puzzles are the same patterned sentence for each level.  So that kids can just practice concepts of print (think: What is a word? What is a sentence? Where is the beginning and end?) and one-to-one correspondence.

Plus, there is picture support to make reading the content words a breeze!

You can do your own sentence puzzles using index cards or Magnetiles, which you can read about in an upcoming blog post...or you can snag this pre-made differentiated packet of sentence puzzles that are leveled, color coded and ready to go here!

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