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Tutor Tip of the Month

Making long sentences more friendly

(Adapted from Contra Costa County Library’s Project Second Chance)

Tutor Joan Flaherty shared a great idea for working with long sentences. She and her student were reading a James Herriot book, and the sentences were often very long with many qualifying phrases and clauses. Since they were hard for her student to follow, Joan decided that she and her student would try making up their own long sentences. They call them “Monster Sentences.”

Want to try it? Begin with a short sentence. We’ll use:
“The woman was waiting for the bus.”

Now we’ll add something to tell which woman was waiting:
“The woman with the long red hair was waiting for the bus.” (But it could have been “The old woman ” or “The tall woman with the guitar.”)

Which bus was she waiting for?
“The woman with the long red hair was waiting for the express bus to DVC.”

When was she waiting?
“Last Sunday the woman with the long red hair was waiting for the express bus to DVC.”

Had she waited for long?
“Last Sunday the woman with the long red hair was waiting for the express bus to DVC for over an hour.”

Why did she have to wait so long?
“Last Sunday the woman with the long red hair was waiting for the express bus to DVC for over an hour before she realized the buses don’t run on Sundays.”

After making up Monster Sentences during several lessons, the student found it easier to read the James Herriot book with natural phrasing – because she recognized the structures that held the sentences together.

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FYI - Project Second Chance has a wonderful archive of tutor tips online at:
http://www.ccclib.org/psc/tutor_tips.html

 

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