Possible Sentences


Possible sentences is a vocabulary strategy that is used before reading to stimulate students’ prior knowledge about content area vocabulary and concepts. It can be used in a variety of ways including individually, in small groups, or as a whole class.

Strategy Procedure:

Read the text before assigning it to your students. Choose any vocabulary that may need to be clarified. Display these vocabulary words. Have the students define these words and pair them with other words that they think are related. With these word pairs, ask the student to construct sentences. Tell the students that the sentences that they come up with should be ones that they expect to see as they read. If your students have never done possible sentences before, this is something that you need to model for them first. Beginning readers may need the activity to be simplified. For example, you could write the sentences and leave blanks for the students to fill in with vocabulary words from the reading. After the students read, have them check their sentences to see how they compare with the sentences from the text. Allow them to correct any sentences that need to be revised. In conclusion, you could invite the students to share their sentences with the class. You could even allow them to play a post-reading game after constructing their possible sentences. Have them to read their sentences to the class without telling whether each sentence was accurate or not. The class will determine whether or not the sentences were accurate based on what they found as they read.


Possible sentences can be used as an language arts activity prior to reading any book. It can also be used in math and science lessons to help students understand complicated new terms.

Language Arts Example
Math Example
Science Example


This is a great way to get children thinking and get them excited about what they are about read. This is an activity that I have tried personally as a student in my Children’s Literature class. It can improve reading comprehension and spark curiosity. It teaches students to guess how words maybe used in the text. It can also be differentiated to fit a variety of learners. If used as a group activity, students of various abilities could work together within a group. It is also good for ESL students. These students can be given the vocabulary words in both English and their native language. Then, they will write their possible sentences in English, helping them with their transition to a new and unfamiliar language.


Reading Rockets. (n. d.). Classroom strategies: Possible sentences. Retrieved from http://www.readingrockets.org

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