21 Strategies to Help Students Who Cannot Finish Sentences or Express Complete Thoughts When Writing

Are you looking for strategies to help students who cannot finish sentences or express complete thoughts when writing? If so, keep reading.

1. Embody writing in finished sentences or thoughts in legible handwriting for the learner to mimic.

2. After the learner proofreads their written work, have them explain why specific sentences do or do not express finished thoughts.

3. Assess whether the learner uses finished sentences or expresses finished thoughts when speaking. Proficiency in spoken language typically precedes and influences the type of language used in written work.

4. Ask questions that encourage language. Refrain from those that can be answered by yes/no or a nod of the head (e.g., “What did you do at recess?” instead of “Did you play on the slide?” or “Tell me about your vacation.” instead of” Did you remain home over the holidays?”).

5. Give the learner shorter tasks while increasing the quality of expectations.

6. Inspect the learner’s written work at several points throughout the task to make sure the learner is using finished sentences and thoughts in legible handwriting.

7. Give exercises for making sentences out of non-sentence groups of words.

8. Provide the learner a group of related words (e.g., author, read, love, best-seller, etc.) and have them make up a paragraph including all the words. Place emphasis on the use of finished sentences or thoughts in legible handwriting.

9. Select a topic for a paragraph or story and alternate writing sentences with the learner to give a regular model of the components of a finished sentence.

10. Give the learner clearly stated criteria for acceptable work (e.g., neatness, finished sentences, legible handwriting, etc.).

11. Ask the parents to encourage the learner’s use of finished sentences and thoughts, both oral and written, by praising them when these are used at home.

12. Urge the learner to read written work aloud to help find unfinished sentences and thoughts.

13. Create levels of expectations for quality handwriting performance and require the learner to correct or repeat tasks until the expectations are met.

14. Provide the learner a factual statement (e.g., some animals are dangerous) and have them compose several finished sentences relating to that concept.

15. Ensure that the learner knows the types of errors made when writing (e.g., not finishing sentences or thoughts, writing too big or small, etc.).

16. Provide the learner a notecard to keep at their desk to serve as a reminder that all sentences must have a subject and a verb.

17. Provide the learner scrambled words and have them put them in the correct order to form a finished sentence.

18. Provide the learner several short sentences and have them combine them to make one longer finished sentence (e.g., “The cat is big. The cat is brown. the cat is mine.” becomes “The big, brown cat is mine.”).

19. Get several students to build a sentence while someone writes it down (e.g., The first one starts with a word such as “I.” The next learner adds the second word, such as “like.” This process continues as long as possible to create one long, finished sentence.).

20. Select a peer to model writing in finished sentences or thoughts for the learner. Designate the students to work together, perform tasks together, etc.

21. Consider using one of the apps on one of our best writing apps lists:

The Tech Edvocate’s List of 31 Grammar & Writing Apps, Tools & Resources

Ten Apps to Help Students Develop Writing Skills

10 of the Best Grammar and Writing Apps for Elementary School Students

11 of the Best Grammar and Writing Apps for High School Students

10 of the Best Grammar and Writing Apps for Middle School Students