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essay openers ks2

  • Sentence Starters Ks2 Worksheets Resources

Sentence openers – Best KS2 worksheets and resources

Schoolboy writing sentence openers

Help children improve and vary sentence openers in creative, persuasive and essay writing with these activities, ideas, lessons and more…

Teachwire

What are sentence openers?

How to use sentence openers in your classroom, sentence starters classroom display, ks2 sentence starters game, six ways to open a sentence video, sentence starter examples sheet.

Sentence openers, also known as sentence starters, are a word or phrase used to begin any given sentence. It’s useful for children to learn to work on these to vary their language and therefore improve their writing.

Just like people, sentence openers come in many shapes and sizes. Some are a classroom staple and useful for many writing opportunities. Others are created for a more specific purpose. They can help to:

  • activate prior knowledge
  • give examples
  • summarise 

You can use them at any point in the lesson to structure meaningful conversation. They can be useful at the beginning of a piece of writing, in the middle, or even towards the end – whenever you think they will clarify learning or aid progress.  

Paper aeroplanes, representing sentence openers

Lose those exasperated refrains of “I don’t know what to write”, and get pupils off to a flying start with these irresistible sentence openers for KS2 from Collette Waddle…

I’ve been a teacher for nearly 20 years, and almost every educator I know has suffered this pain: delivering what you believe is an engaging, stimulating, practically BAFTA-winning introduction to writing, only to be met with “I don’t know what to write,” or “What are we doing?”.

So often, the difficulty comes not from writing in general, but rather getting pupils to  start  writing. Enter sentence openers for KS2.

We all know those pupils that struggle to write, and often it’s the ones that don’t read a lot. There are many reasons for this correlation, but I think one key factor is that they don’t have that bank of imaginative ideas that reading provides, to dip into.

Sentence openers are great for providing these ideas that allow children to get going. For me, they’ve been a game-changer.

I made up a few within a lesson one day and popped them on the working wall . It was a ‘spur of the moment’ idea, but it really worked.

“Sentence openers are great for providing these ideas that allow children to get going”

The less confident children used them, found a voice and began to engage, safe in the knowledge that they were on the right track. Others even added their own suggestions.  

So, how did it work?  

If you haven’t come across them much before, sentence openers, also known as sentence stems, give all pupils the chance to contribute, orally or in writing, while using complete sentences.

They’ll help the children begin their composition, while (sneakily) encouraging practice of the vocabulary and grammar conventions you want them to learn.   

Using sentence openers successfully

Create .

When thinking about writing genres, create your starters and always include genre-related key vocabulary, phrases and language structures. Start small and keep sessions speedy, oral and fun at first. 

Adapt 

Sentence openers resources

Once pupils have mastered using them,  download these ready-made sentence starter clipboards .  Use as they are, or adapt to suit your style, teaching, children or aims. You choose. Just be sure to build in progression. 

Model 

Show pupils how to use sentence starters. Don’t just focus on the writing, but the thinking, the choosing, and the ‘hmmm, that one doesn’t quite work, I need to change it’ moments.

Model changing your mind, and the messy planning and writing process: just do it with the sentence starters as part of the journey. 

Practise 

Review the starters you use regularly, and provide examples of how children could potentially complete some of them (oral or written). Complete a couple deliberately wrong and watch the fireworks!

Can children identify what’s wrong with the rest of the sentence? Can they correct it? Create opportunities for practice.   

Review 

Once pupils are confident with sentence starters, they can share their ideas. You can critique results, giving kind, constructive feedback.

A crucial piece of advice to give to pupils is: “Vary your sentence starters.” Even with strong sentence openers, writing becomes bland if they overuse the same ones. Encourage variation.

Write your own bland version and read it out in a monotone voice, just to drive home the point. 

Revisit (regularly) 

Plan regular revisits. To encourage progression, challenge pupils with sentence starters that are just above their current assessment level. Make them work for it!  

Sentence openers activities to try

Schoolgirl writing sentence openers

As well as making sure you’re following the right processes, engaging activities can also help bring your writing lessons to life. These are my favourites for helping pupils use sentence starters:  

Connections 

Cut out (or just mix up on a worksheet) a selection of sentence starters and endings. Pupils need to match up each starter with the correct ending.

Are there any starters that work with more than one ending? Why? This activity is great for provoking discussion on the ways we use language.  

Upgrade 

Prepare some sentence starters and give a copy to each pupil. Then, give them two to three minutes to complete each one, using information from recent learning.

After three or four minutes, the children should swap their sentences with a partner and add to or edit the information on their partner’s sheet. After another three or four minutes, pupils should then swap back and review their edited list.  

Sentence starters reboot 

Get pupils to choose a paragraph from an old piece of writing that they want to improve, and  have them redraft it  using sentence starters.

Encourage them to focus on choosing the starters that are going to provide the best flow, will have the best impact, and will make their writing the best it can be.

This is a good opportunity to discuss who the intended audience of the writing is, and whether children can figure out which type of sentence starters will work best.

For example, are they trying to:

  • introduce  something?
  • support an  argument?
  • give  examples ?
  • summarise  a point of view? 

News at 10 

This follows on well from ‘sentence starter reboot’, and involves pupils presenting their writing as a news report, using the appropriate sentence structures.

You could even turn your classroom into a news studio and have the children take it in turns to read their work, and give each other constructive feedback.  

Prior knowledge tap 

For this activity, give the children a time limit and see how many sentence starters they can come up with. You could try prompting them with questions like: “ How many sentence starters that you would expect to see in a set of instructions can you write in four minutes?”  

Interactive dice 

Try adding sentence starters for KS2 onto interactive dice, so pupils have a fun way to practise their vocabulary. In groups of three or four, depending on the size of your class, each pupil takes a turn rolling the die, and then the rest of the group need to come up with different possible endings to the starter that has been rolled.

The bonus is that these are easy to adapt, depending on your class needs or learning aims.  

Collette Waddle is a UKS2 teacher and resource creator. Follow her on Twitter  @ColletteR .

Sentence openers classroom display

This classroom display pack from Plazoom features a set of six posters illustrating different ways to begin a sentence, using eye-catching images surrounded by example sentences – verb, adverb, simile, preposition, conjunction and onomatopoeia.

Plus, blank versions of the posters are also included, so children and teachers can add their own text suggestion.

KS2 game

With this KS2 grammar game from Plazoom you can help children explore different ways of starting sentences.

In it, there are two sets of cards: the blue cards contain examples of adverbs , conjunctions, onomatopoeia, prepositions, questions, similes and verbs that can be used to start a sentence, while the yellow cards contains clauses which can be added to the blue sentence starters.

If you don’t mind the overly dramatic American narrator, this video handily walks children through opening sentences with the subject, where or when something happens, questions, an ‘-ing’ phrase, verbs ending in ‘-ed’ and ‘-ly’ words.

Each one is backed up with examples and is clearly explained for students to follow and use.

essay openers ks2

This eight-page PDF of sentence openers sorts its examples into six different styles of writing, such as diary writing, information texts and recounts, then provides a selection of options for each.

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Sentence Openers Posters for Creative Writing Inspiration - KS2 Classroom Displays

Resource Collection Classroom Display

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This classroom display pack contains a series of six posters illustrating different sentence starters in KS2 that could be used when writing: with an adverb, conjunction, preposition, simile, verb or with onomatopoeia. Each poster combines an image prompt and several clear examples to support grammar explanations and writing activities at KS2.

Blank versions of each poster are also included for pupils to add their own examples as part of a working wall .

What are good sentence starters?

Sentences can begin in a number of ways using a range of sentence openers . This classroom display provides examples of a variety of ways that sentences can begin.

  • Adverbs (words that modify verbs and also adjectives, other adverbs or whole sentences)

Soon, a crowd gathered to watch Milo.

Slowly, the seconds ticked past.

  • Conjunctions (words that link words, phrases or clauses and can be co-ordinating or subordinating)

While Barney handed over the present, the lion pounced.

Since the lion rarely had visitors, he got excited when Barney arrived.

  • Onomatopoeia (a word that sounds like the sound it names)

Click went the lever as it was released.

Whoosh - the rocket whizzed into the air.

  • Prepositions (words that shows the position, direction, timing or link between a noun, pronoun or noun phrase to the rest of the sentence)

Before the fall, the day had been very quiet.

On the street below, bystanders stared in disbelief.

  • Similes ( a figure of speech comparing one thing to another using the words ‘like’ or ‘as’)

Like wounded birds , the tomato slices dropped to the counter.

As fast as lightening, the blade cut through the air.

  • Verbs (words that identify an action, thought or feeling in a sentence)

Smiling happily, Jennifer took the picture.

Clicking constantly, Jennifer took hundreds of photographs.

What is included in this sentence starters classroom display pack?

  • 6 complete, illustrated A4 posters, each showing one approach to starting a sentence with up to six written examples.
  • 6 Blank A4 posters , to which students can add their own sentence starter suggestions as part of an English working wall.
  • PDF assets containing designed headers, example sentences and blank speech/thought bubbles to use with the blank posters.
  • Giant versions of the A4 posters to create larger classroom displays
  • Teacher notes

Visit our Classroom Display Collection for more inspiring resources to support teaching and learning in your classroom.

National Curriculum English programme of study links

Years 3 / 4 Writing - composition

Pupils should be taught to : Years 5 / 6 Writing - composition

  • evaluate and edit by assessing the effectiveness of their own and others’ writing and suggesting improvements

Pupils should be taught to :

  • draft and write by selecting appropriate grammar and vocabulary, understanding how such choices can change and enhance meaning
  • evaluate and edit by assessing the effectiveness of their own and others’ writing

This resource is part of the Classroom Display collection. View more from this collection

  • teacher notes
  • completed posters
  • posters with no text
  • giant posters

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IMAGES

  1. Sentence Openers/Starters

    essay openers ks2

  2. English KS2 Persuasive sentence openers

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  3. Sentence Openers For Kids

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  4. Vary Your Sentence Openers: A4 prompt sheet

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  5. Sentence Openers KS2 Game

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  6. Sentence Openers KS2 Game

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VIDEO

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  1. Essay Writing Sentence Openers

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  2. Sentence openers

    Sentence openers, also known as sentence starters, are a word or phrase used to begin any given sentence. It's useful for children to learn to work on these to vary their language and therefore improve their writing. Just like people, sentence openers come in many shapes and sizes. Some are a classroom staple and useful for many writing ...

  3. Lesson: To vary sentence openers

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  4. Vary Your Sentence Openers: A4 prompt sheet

    Vary Your Sentence Openers: A4 prompt sheet. Subject: English. Age range: 7-11. Resource type: Visual aid/Display. File previews. pdf, 140.7 KB. docx, 29.39 KB. I developed this resource to complement one of the strategies covered by the Write Away Together scheme. It's a colour-coded, A4 sheet which uses icons and examples of each sentence ...

  5. Paragraph Starters Word Mat

    These paragraph starters and openers are a great way for KS2 children to get talking and writing. Simply download this paragraph starters word mat to engage your students in their writing activities. Explore this word mat and a range of other fantastic resources by creating your own Twinkl account here! This word mat is ideal for teaching your children how to start a new paragraph in an ...

  6. Persuasive sentence starters

    Persuasive sentence starters. Add to My Folder. Join Scholastic Resource Bank: Primary from just £15.00. a year to access thousands of KS1 and KS2 resources. Use these sentence starters to help children practise making persuasive arguments. PDF [300 KB]

  7. Sentence Openers Posters for Creative Writing Inspiration

    This classroom display pack contains a series of six posters illustrating different sentence starters in KS2 that could be used when writing: with an adverb, conjunction, preposition, simile, verb or with onomatopoeia. Each poster combines an image prompt and several clear examples to support grammar explanations and writing activities at KS2. Blank versions of each poster are also included ...

  8. How to write an essay

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  9. Exciting writing! Resources to help improve KS2 English writing

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  10. 365 Top "Sentence Openers Ks2" Teaching Resources curated for you

    Narrative Structure, Sentences and Features Plan 54 reviews. Explore more than 365 "Sentence Openers Ks2" resources for teachers, parents and pupils as well as related resources on "Sentence Openers". Instant access to inspirational lesson plans, schemes of work, assessment, interactive activities, resource packs, PowerPoints, teaching ideas at ...

  11. How to engage the reader in the opening paragraph

    The opening lines of a story need to engage the reader so that they keep reading. Narrative hooks work to capture the reader's attention - like a worm on a fishing hook attracts a fish. Raising ...

  12. Sentence Starter for Introduction

    When writing to inform or persuade others, it's important to start sentences off with a strong opener. Using this fabulous word mat, you can teach your KS2 pupils how to pick the perfect sentence starter for introductions! This resource contains a colourful, well-presented word mat that's packed with useful openers that key stage 2 pupils can use to start off their sentences. What's more ...

  13. Discussion Text Sentence Openers

    zip, 5.83 MB. A complete bank of discussion text sentence openers. Includes a variety of words grouped into useful types. All that you need for expanding vocabulary and heightening progress during a discussion text unit. Types of openers included: Openers for additional points of view. Openers for opposing points of view.

  14. How to engage the reader in a story opening

    The opening lines of a story need to engage the reader so that they keep reading. Narrative hooks work to capture the reader's attention - like a worm on a fishing hook attracts a fish ...

  15. PDF DRAMATIC OPENERS—HOOKS

    A dramatic opener for a single paragraph is often a very short sentence placed before the topic sentence. More often, dramatic openers are used to begin an entire report or essay. In these, another very short sentence may also be placed at the end of the essay or report to remind the reader of the opening. These would then frame the composition.

  16. Sentence Opener Examples Word Mat Pack (teacher made)

    Take a sneak peek at some strong sentence openers examples from this new word mat pack. conjunction openers - When it finally came to a stop, -ed openers - Blinded by the lights, -ing openers - Advancing towards them, -ly openers - Cautiously creeping down the pathway, prepositional openers - Above the mountains,

  17. Journalistic Words and Phrases KS2

    Newspaper Vocabulary Activity. Once your students have got to grips with the style of journalistic writing and what words are commonly used ask them to identify which sentence openers you might find in a newspaper and those you would most certainly not. Download our newspaper vocabulary activity. This word bank of journalistic sentence openers ...

  18. English KS2 Persuasive sentence openers

    English KS2 Persuasive sentence openers - For and Against. Subject: English. Age range: 7-11. Resource type: Worksheet/Activity. File previews. docx, 129.71 KB. Great resource to help children with persuasive writing for and against.

  19. Lesson: Identifying the features of an essay

    Essays include subject-specific language and they are written in formal tone. A one-sided essay presents a logical argument that reveals a series of points. Points made within essays must be explained and backed up by evidence in order to be effective. A range of fronted adverbials, sentence types and parenthesis in brackets are linguistic ...

  20. -ly Openers Word Mat (teacher made)

    Use this -ly openers word mat to encourage your KS2 students to start their sentences in a more detailed and descriptive way. With -ly opener suggestions for building tension, conveying characters' feelings, adding action and describing settings, it's a great visual aid for all kinds of fictional writing. Examples of -ly sentence openers: Show ...

  21. PDF Sentence starters and useful vocabulary

    4 Despite the fact that . . . In spite of . . . Expressing a viewpoint In my view . . . As I see it . . . I believe that . . .

  22. Good Story Openers

    This useful Story Openers KS2 PowerPoint uses examples from popular novels to help your children use exciting story openers in their narrative writing. The PowerPoint includes helpful images and hand-drawn illustrations to support its content, including examples of different story openers. Different story openers can be dialogue, a statement, a ...