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No-Glamour® Sentence Structure
Ages: 7-Adult   Grades: 2-Adult         

This step-by-step, picture-based program with a meta-cognitive approach appeals to visual learners.  The format breaks sentence structures into steps students can understand, making the development of more complex sentence structures attainable.


  • Learn how to use parts of speech in 15 sentence structures
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*The CD contains the complete book.  All pages are printable.
** This is a Cloud E-Book that is accessible from any device with Internet access. .

Each unit begins with a suggested list of sentences and a meta-cognitive modeling example.  As the student looks at step-by-step illustrations, the metacognitive prompts help him describe each picture and write the corresponding words and phrases.  Students learn to think about each element in a sentence and systematically construct increasingly complex sentences.  The well-organized program progresses from simple to increasingly complex sentence structures and negative forms.

The units include:

  • Noun + verb: The boy is swimming.
  • Adjective + noun + verb: The sad girl is crying.
  • Noun + verb + direct object: The girl is petting a dog.
  • Noun + passive verb + prepositional phrase: The window was broken by the ball.
  • Noun + verb + indirect object + direct object: The man is buying the woman flowers.
  • Compound subject + verb: The teacher and the boy are smiling.
  • Noun + compound verb: The children are cutting and folding.
  • Noun + verb + adverb: The girls talk quietly.
  • Noun + verb + direct object + indirect object: The man is making a sandwich for the girl.
  • Noun + prepositional phrase + verb: The boy in the bed is sick.
  • Noun + verb + adjective + direct object: The woman is holding the crying baby.
  • Noun + verb + infinitive/infinitive phrase: The girl is going to color a picture.
  • Noun + adjective clause + verb/(verb + direct object): The girl who hit the ball is running.
  • Noun + verb + adjective + adverbial clause: The girl is sad because her doll is broken.
  • Noun + negative verb phrase: The children are not smiling.


Copyright © 2003

272 pages
  • Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) should scaffold their instruction of syntactic structure to help students express complex thoughts coherently (Nippold, Mansfield, & Billow, 2007).
  • In contrast to spoken language, written language is a more concrete, permanent modality for working on sentence structure (ASHA, 2001).
  • Special educators, including SLPs, need to engage children with language arts activities that are non-threatening and appealing in order to facilitate student motivation (Sanacore, 2005).
  • A study by Feng and Powers (2005) found that grammatical mini-lessons targeting students' error patterns resulted in short- and long-term accuracy.
  • Children with language disorders often struggle with expository text and produce shorter and grammatically simpler sentences (Nippold, Mansfield, & Billow, 2007).

No-Glamour Sentence Structure incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). (2001). Roles and responsibilities of speech-language pathologists with respect to reading and writing in children and adolescents [Guidelines]. Retrieved June 8, 2010, from

Feng, S., & Powers, K. (2005). The short- and long-term effect of explicit grammar instruction on fifth graders' writing. Reading Improvement, 42(2), 67-72.

Nippold, M.A., Mansfield, T.C., & Billow, J.L. (2007). Peer conflict explanations in children, adolescents, and adults: Examining the development of complex syntax. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 16, 179-188.

Sanacore, J. (2005). Increasing student participation in the language arts. Intervention in School and Clinic, 41(2), 99-104.


Monica Gustafson


Monica Gustafson has been a speech-language pathologist in the St. James-Assiniboia School Division in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada since 1977.  Monica is responsible for intervention to elementary-aged students and providing storytelling to children throughout the division.  She also writes a column for the Winnipeg Parent Newsmagazine to promote public awareness of speech and language.  An author of numerous speech and language programs, this is Monica's first publication with LinguiSystems.

Monica and her husband Ron live in Winnipeg with their two children, Kari and Erik.  In her spare time Monica enjoys reading, traveling, and volunteering as a recruitment advisor for her chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta.


No-Glamour Sentence Structure is a flexible, picture-based program to help students develop more complicated sentence structures.  The worksheets are arranged in order of complexity from simple sentences to more complex structures and negative forms.  In no way is it suggested that this is a hierarchy of the way students develop these structures.  The order was established to help students increase the complexity of their structures from simple to more complex.

Each unit begins with a suggested list of sentences, followed by the individual worksheets.  On each worksheet page, the complexity of the sentence is developed by the illustrations, step-by-step, until the student has verbally described each element.  Once all the elements of the sentence have been identified, the student can then construct a complete sentence structure.

When working with a student, use a meta-cognitive modeling method to suggest appropriate structures as in the example below.  An example of modeling is provided on the first page of each unit.

For most of the stimulus pages, the suggested text is written in the present tense, but you can change the text to meet the goals of individual students.

The suggested text is also written with nouns.  You can change these nouns to target the use of pronouns as needed.

Students with language disorders are typically not efficient auditory learners, so in working with this population, it is appropriate that we provide them with as many visual cues as possible.  This program was designed with these children in mind.  The program gives them a visual strategy to build sentence structures and to practice both formulating those structures and writing them coherently.

Some students may have difficulty remembering all the words in sentences.  For example, they may forget "little" words such as is, are, and who.  There are several ways you can help by providing more visual cueing.  You might draw an oval link between picture frames like the example on the right.  You can fill in these spaces before the student writes the sentence to remind him of the occurrence of the form, or have the student fill in the links as he writes the completed structure.  You can also give the student a piece of paper with the word printed on it so that he can manipulate the word, placing it in the appropriate spot on the page.  We've provided these words for your use.

Other visual strategies are to highlight the word, write it in a different color, or draw a shape around the word.  You could choose different shapes for different words to help cue the student visually.  For example, you might draw a circle around every is, a square around every who, and a triangle around every the.

My students have demonstrated a better understanding of sentence structures using this program and have gone on to use them in less structured situations.  I wish you success in building your students' use of appropriate sentence structures with the strategies suggested in No-Glamour Sentence Structure.