Subject and predicate – why bother with teaching sentence structure anyway?  Well, in my opinion, if the terms are just used within a skill and drill concept of teaching grammatical writing, then I don’t see much to it.  The students will obediently place their lines between the subject and predicate, but does it really help in teaching writing?  I believe that we have so little time to teach that each lesson must touch their writing and reading lives in a deep way.  So, back to subject and predicate.

A fun book for teaching these concepts to integrate into the children’s writing is Skeleton Hiccupsby Margery Cuyler.  Halloween is only five days away and this cute book accents the parts of a sentence.  The skeleton wakes up with the hiccups, and Margery Cuyler adds the onomatopoeia throughout the story.  (I was just thinking that the kindergartners, who are learning to label, would learn a new way to add their voice to the writing.)  The story continues by adding different things that Skeleton does – the predicate of the sentence.  Ghost enters the story, adding in some conversation as well.  Finally, only he thinks of a clever way to get the Skeleton to stop hiccuping.  (Drinking water is one of my favorite pages.)

Savorings for reading and in writing for Skeleton Hiccups:

  • Predicate – teach to vocabulary word that is hounded on standardized tests
  • Turning point – “But nothing worked….Then Ghost got smart.”
  • Labeling onomatopoeia with different fonts – hic, hic, hic
  • Command – “Hold your breath.”



2 Responses to Predicate

  1. Guy Johnson says:

    I love your site, and will be using some of your suggestions in my tutoring sessions. However, the prepositional phrases are not quite prepositional phrases. “Carved a pumkin on the table” or “Raked some leaves into a bag” would be. (Don’t worry, I know that was a sentence fragment!)

    Happy reading!

    • MaryHelen says:

      Excellent noticing. I am puzzled why I put it that way and do not have my original notebook in front of me (I write most of my entries in a notebook with tons of revisions. It’s great to show the kids at school, because it looks so messy). My guess is that there were prepositional phrases in the book and I wrote the wrong examples. Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the response and hope you find other books that will be helpful to you.

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