Sentence Fluency: Sentence Length

Contributor: Delaine Thomas. Lesson ID: 12619

This lesson is good. It will help you. You will learn. It's about sentence length. This is important. Enough boredom! Learn how to write sentences that are more interesting and fun for your readers!



English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • Have you ever made a quilt?
  • Do you know anyone who has?

Watch the quick video below to see all the planning and work that goes into making a quilt.

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What a beautiful quilt!

  • What does this have to do with your writing?

A lot of work goes into making a quilt, from selecting a pattern to finding the perfect fabrics and sizing it just right.

Once you have the fabric and dimensions, you have to cut out all the pieces, measure and sew them together, sew the entire quilt together, and then quilt it.

Most quilters love to vary their patterns and color choices; it is interesting to see how the colors and patterns they use flow together to make the finished quilt beautiful.

  • What if the quilt was all the same color? 
  • It would not be as pretty, and it would be boring, right?

Writing works in much the same way as quilting.

When you write, you use various words to make your writing descriptive and meaningful. You use a variety of sentence styles and lengths to make your writing flow smoothly and clearly from one idea to the next.

Proper word and sentence selection creates reader interest and flow or sentence fluency.

  • What is sentence fluency?

Listen to this fun song that will explain more.

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Building effective sentences is an essential part of sentence fluency.

There are three main types of sentences: simple, compound, and complex.

Simple Sentences

A simple sentence is a sentence that contains one independent clause.

An independent clause is a group of words that forms a complete thought all on its own. It may include a compound subject (two subjects connected with a coordinating conjunction) or compound predicate (two predicates connected with a coordinating conjunction).

Simple sentences are often seen with only a simple subject and predicate.

Example: The dog ran across the street.

Compound Sentences

A compound sentence is a sentence that has two or more independent clauses. A comma, a coordinating conjunction, or a semicolon combines these clauses.

Here's a list of coordinating conjunctions.

  and but for
  or nor so


Example: The children knew the song, but they did not sing it.

Each group of words before and after the word but is an independent clause, meaning they are both complete sentences joined by the coordinating conjunction but.

Complex Sentences

A complex sentence is a sentence that contains an independent clause and a dependent clause.

A dependent clause is a clause that cannot stand alone as a complete sentence. It may appear at the sentence's beginning or end.

They may contain relative pronouns such as that, which, and who. They might also include subordinating conjunctions, such as after, because, until, and when.

Example: After I came home, I made dinner.

Take out a piece of paper and pencil. As you watch the following video, write down the three types of sentences, a definition of each, and any other clues that might help you identify each type.

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Remember, using a variety of sentence types helps make your writing more interesting. It also helps create clarity and flow for your reader and your listener.

Try This

  1. Have a conversation with someone in your household for five minutes. Set a five-minute timer on your phone or another device.
  1. During this five-minute conversation, use only simple sentences. Don't let the person know you're doing this on purpose, and take note of their reaction.
  1. When the time is up, talk to the person about their impression of the conversation, then share your thoughts about what it was like to talk that way.
  • Was it difficult for the other person to understand you?
  • Did you feel like you were speaking naturally?
  • Why do you think writing with various sentence types is essential?

Continue to the Got It? section to practice identifying the different sentence types.

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