Sentence Frames (Patterns and Structures)

Writing Structures and Patterns
Writing patterns build an understanding of sentence structure in a non-threatening manner. It is important to develop ideas through patterns, visual mapping, collaborative recitation, vocabulary building, working language with a pocket chart, and writing. It will benefit the students to use words for patterns that reflect common usage (see the list of 100 and 1000 most used words in the English language). Patterns provide models of excellence while building on the brain seeking patterns. The goal is to set the stage for successful original writing.

An ideal Priming activity(ies) is using Sentence Transformation and/or Visual Tools (e.g. Thinking Maps®) prior to creating the writing.

This connects well with using visual tools such as Thinking Maps to develop the ideas, ‘read’ the maps following the writing pattern, model writing from the map, then having all students write from their personal maps. It is important for the teacher to model actually doing their own map, and modeling how to write from the map to their composition book.

Also see the page devoted to Poetry Writing.

Beginning Original Patterns

I like ________.
I like ________.

I like playing ________.
I like playing ________.

I have one ________.
I have two ________.
I have three ________.

On the first day ________.
On the second day ________.

On the first day I see the wind blowing ________.
On the second day I see the wind blowing ________.

On the first day there is one ________.
On the second day there are two ________.

On Sunday ________.
On Monday ________.
On Tuesday ________.

On Sunday the ________ is ________.
On Monday the ________ is ________.

In January  ________.
In February ________.

I play ________.
I play ________.

I play in ________.

I play with ________.

I play on ________.

Build a word bank on a topic (e.g. an animal), then use the following writing structure to use the words rhythmically.

________ here,
________ there,
________,  ________ everywhere.

Original Patterns

Build ways of saying ‘good morning’ with the students. Put the words on word cards. They would then write from the pattern:

“________,” said ________.
“________,” said ________.

The first blank would have a student representation of ‘good morning’ and the second blank in the sentence would have a student’s name. A word bank for different ways to say said would be another way to extend the possibilities. After doing practice writing the class could create a panoramic book. The students create a drawing of their face. Next the students build a panoramic book with bubbles of their versions of  good morning. The book Yo! Yes! by Chris Raschksa would also complement this pattern.

Song Patterns

From This Land is Your Land by Woody Guthrie

This school is your school,

From the ________
To the ________,
From the ________
To the ________,

This school was made for you and me.

Book Patterns

From Fortunately, Unfortunately by Remy Charlip

Fortunately ________.
But unfortunately ________.
Fortunately ________.
But unfortunately ________.

From The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown

The important thing about ________ is ________,
It can ________,
It can ________,
And it can ________,
But the important thing about ________ is ________.

Poetry Patterns

From I Hear America Singing by Walt Whitman

I hear (name of school) singing,
The (person category) singing theirs as they ________.

I hear (name of school) singing,
The (person category) singing theirs as they ________.

Person category:  e.g. custodian, student, principal, social worker

Examples include:
The librarian singing theirs as they shelve the books.
The student singing theirs as they shuffle their feet on the playground.

Langston Hughes

Let America Be America Again

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!


Start with Sentence Transformation of the first stanza
‘Let it be the dream it used to be’ and do with the next two lines.


For more ideas look for predictable books to model patterns there is a list of many predictable books on my website For some excellent hands-on publications with patterns by themes, look into books by Marlene and Bob McCracken at