The Power of Combining Sentences with the Right Conjunctions
Effective reading comprehension strategies empower readers to extract meaning from text, facilitating a deeper understanding of the written word. But did you know that we can boost our students’ reading comprehension through explicit writing instruction? And by writing, I mean starting at sentence-level of writing with conjunctions. Using this approach we can improve our students’ writing, content knowledge, reading fluency, and reading comprehension…what a great all-in-one approach, right?!
Writing instruction should be embedded into our curriculum to strengthen our students’ content knowledge. And since the foundation of writing starts at the sentence level, so should our instruction in writing. Teaching even young students how to combine thoughts at the sentence level will set them up for reading and writing success. The Writing Revolution‘s approach to reading comprehension emphasizes the skill of combining sentences using appropriate conjunctions. This enables readers to navigate complex texts with ease. By harnessing the power of these seemingly small words (conjunctions), readers can synthesize information, identify relationships, and enhance their overall comprehension. Below are three examples of higher-level reading comprehension skills that you can teach with small, but mighty conjunctions.
Example 1: Contrast and Comparison
Sentence 1: The weather was cold.
Sentence 2: I went for a swim.
Combined Sentence: The weather was cold, but I went for a swim.
In this example, the conjunction “but” is employed to express contrast between two ideas. By combining the sentences, readers understand that despite the cold weather, the speaker still chose to go for a swim. This use of a conjunction clarifies the relationship between the contrasting ideas and helps readers grasp the author’s intended meaning.
Example 2: Cause and Effect
Sentence 1: She studied hard.
Sentence 2: She scored well on the test.
Combined Sentence: She scored well on the test because she studied hard.
Using the conjunction “because,” these two sentences are merged to establish a cause-and-effect relationship. By combining them, readers understand that the reason for the high test score is the student’s diligent studying. This cohesive sentence structure aids in comprehension by highlighting the cause-and-effect relationship and connecting the ideas seamlessly.
3. Example 3: Adding One to Another
Sentence 1: I woke up early.
Sentence 2: I got dressed.
Combined Sentence: I woke up early, and I got dressed.
The conjunction “and” is employed here to combine two related parts. By combining the sentences, readers follow the logical progression of events: waking up early followed by getting dressed. This conjunction helps readers comprehend the sequence of actions, allowing for a more cohesive understanding of the narrative.
Conjunctions: a Big Impact on Reading Comprehension:
Mastering the skill of combining sentences with appropriate conjunctions is a powerful reading comprehension strategy. By implementing this approach, readers can enhance their ability to synthesize information and grasp the intended meaning of texts. The strategic use of conjunctions not only promotes comprehension but also improves overall reading fluency and engagement. Incorporating this approach into literacy instruction empowers students to become skilled readers who can navigate complex texts with confidence and proficiency.