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Tiered Sentence Combining (TSC, 2014)

According to adult literacy research and practitioner observation, many ABE students tend to overuse short, simple sentences in their writing. Explicit sentence combining instruction can help them write sentences that are longer, more complex or interesting, and varied in structure. Tiered Sentence Combining (TSC), an evidence-based resource developed by Minnesota STARs, provides a starting point that may ultimately improve ABE students’ sentence composition, complexity, and comprehension. In addition to Teacher Background and Teacher Information pages, TSC:

  • Presents 6 scaffolded strategies for combining short sentences with the common connectors and, but, or, so.
    Recommends an explicit and integrated instructional process of READ-WRITE-READ.
  • Offers 16 Student Exercises using Tier One (concrete, everyday, basic) words and 32 exercises using Tier 2 (abstract, sophisticated, academic) words.
  • Provides an Answer Key for each set of Student Exercises.
  • Includes a variety of Minnesota practitioner sentence topics and ideas for use in ABE, ESL, or GED classrooms.
  • Aligns with College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS), Language CCR Anchor 1: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

Tiered Sentence Combining

The most recent version of TSC (August 2014) is posted here as a Word file; teachers are highly encouraged to make any changes in formatting or wording that will benefit students’ sentence combining readiness or success. They are also respectfully requested to contact Marn Frank at mfrank06@hamline.edu with any corrections or comments.