How to Integrate Sentence Combining/Decombining Effectively
For decades, research has shown that traditional grammar instruction taught in isolation in secondary English language arts classrooms is ineffective in both improving student writing and also in grammar recognition. Sentence combining/decombining is the grammar practice of putting together pieces of kernel, or basic, sentences to form syntactically complex sentences. Since the 1960s, research studies have shown that sentence combining/decombining exercises improve student writing significantly, compared to students who solely receive generative grammar lessons in isolation. Teachers can give students an explicit purpose for learning the grammar, therefore making the instruction meaningful to students. By teaching sentence combining/decombining in the context of writing, students can connect the grammar skill to meaningful writing to see the benefits and purpose of learning the skill. Because teachers today are working with digital natives, grammar lessons need to incorporate digital tools to not only enhance instruction but also interest and motivate students to learn.