Posted by: When Grief Group Isn't An Option | October 3, 2009

Sentence Starters and Enhancers 1

dancing-frogFree Clip Art from

Introducing a new idea!

Shortly before I  ‘officially’ retired (2005), the language arts teachers at Eastview Middle School were emphasizing student writing. One of the areas of emphasis was the concept of teaching students a variety of methods with which to start sentences as well as techniques to enhance sentences. You guessed it; they were called “Starters and Enhancers.”

Despite the fact that this was a new initiative, I embraced it because it seemed to make so much sense. I came into the program after it had begun but gathered that it came from an organization called Inlets (Innovative Learning and Teaching Solutions).

I will offer a brief overview here:

Sentences may be ‘started’ with:

1. A Subject Starter e.g. Jamal opened the treasure chest.

2. An “ly” Starter e.g. Gingerly, Dirk removed a dusty old blanket.

3. A “Prepositional Starter” e.g. Inside the chest, yet another smaller chest awaited.

4. An “ing” Starter e.g. Bending over slowly, the two boys examined the second container.

5. A “Clausal Starter” e.g. Even though they were frightened, Jamal reached for the jewel-encrusted box.

6. An “ed” Starter e.g. Shocked by Jamal’s boldness, Dirk took a step backward.

Sentences may be ‘enhanced” by:

1. Dual adjectives e.g. The girl cuddled the cute, fluffy kitten.

2. Adverbs (ly words) e.g. The tiny ball of fluff stared innocently at its new owner.

3. Dual Strong Verbs e.g. The family dog yelped and whined from beyond the patio door.

4. Who, Which Clause e.g. The kitten, who seemed totally unaware of the Great Dane, covered her eyes with tiny paws.

5. Although, As, If, Since, Because Clause e.g. If the new arrival knew what the dog was thinking, she would have reacted differently.

6. Where, When, While Clause e.g. Life was going to change when the two pets got together.

To me, providing students with a dozen new tools, seemed like a fabulous idea. From what I could gather, the support material and the thinking behind it were the kind that classroom teachers must have developed. My purpose here is to merely suggest the concept. For a more in-depth explanation, go to

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