Words and Sentences
Emergent Literacy

by Sara Roehm

Rationale: Students need to know basics of print before they can master the basics of reading. This lesson will allow students to compare and contrast words and sentences so that they can recognize them in print.

    * books- A Cat Nap (one for each student)
    * handouts numbered with various words and sentences one different lines
          ex: 1. dog
               2. The dog chased the cat.
               3. frog
               4. The frog jumped on a lilly pad.
    * signs with a happy face on one side and a sad face on the other (one for each student)
    * Notecards with words and sentences for assessment  ex: cat, The cat took a nap., girl, The girl smiled., etc.
    * White board and dry erase marker


1. "Today we are going to look at words and sentences. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference, but we are going to
        learn some tricks to help us."
    2. The teacher should then go to the board and write cat. Under the word write the sentence The cat ran. (Make sure to
        exaggerate the period.) Point to cat an ask the students if they can tell you what it says. Then say, "Right, it says cat.
        Is cat a word or a sentence? Yes, it is a word. Now let's look at our sentence. A sentence is a group of words."
    3. Point to each word while reading. "The cat ran. Notice I began reading on the left.  A good way to remember your
        left and right is to use your hands. Hold them out in front of you with your palms facing me. Good. Now put down
        all of your fingers except your pointer fingers and thumbs. Which hand makes an L? That is your left hand. The other
        hand is your right hand." (If this is too difficult, say, " The door in our classroom is on he left. So, whenever you are
        reading at your desk, start on the side closest to the door.")
    4. "Next, look at the very first letter of our sentence. It is a capital letter. All sentences start with a capital letter. Also, a
        sentence ends with a period. A period is the dot (point to the board) that you see here." Hand out books.
    5. "Open your books to the first page. Watch as I read the first sentence. (Hold book up and point as you read.) Bud is a
. Notice the first letter is a capital b. What is at the end? Right, a period. Let's see how many words are in the first
        sentence. (Point and count) One, two, three, four. There are four words in this sentence. How many words are on this
        page? How many sentences?" (Do this on various pages throughout the book.) Finish reading the book and have the
        children point and follow along.
    6. Pass out smiley/frowny signs to the students. "Boys and girls, I am going to show you some cards one by one. If
        you see a sentence, hold up a smiley face. If it is not a sentence, show me the frowny face." This is good practice on
        distinguishing words and sentences.
    7. Take up the signs and pass out worksheets. "We are going to look at this paper and decide if there is a word or
        sentence beside each number. Everyone point to number one. Is there a word or sentence next to number one?"
        Continue for all of the numbers. For assessment, the teacher can walk around and ask each student about a specific
        number, or each student can go to the teacher's desk and answer the first five for the teacher.


A Cat Nap. Carson, CA. Educational Insights, 1990.
     The Secret Code of Sentences  Greer, Rachel


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