Glue Words (Transitions)

Oct 26, 2009 by

Writing Trait/Strategy:

word choice; organization; revision

Mentor Text Suggestions:

Description:

Do you have students who begin every sentence with “And then…” or students who begin every sentence the same way as this student did?

Sentence Fluency x

These are writers who need a mini-lesson on transition words or “glue words”—those words and phrases that hold a piece together and help the reader navigate smoothly through the text. In Super Story-Writing Strategies and Activities, Barbara Mariconda calls these transitions “red flags” that tell the reader that there is a shift in the plot.

Have students begin a list of “glue word and phrases” like the one below to which they can refer when they are writing. When I encounter a child during a writing conference who seems to use the same transitional words repeatedly, we circle those words, refer to our chart, and find some suitable replacements.

 
  • After…
  • After that…
  • Afterward…
  • At first…
  • At the same time…
  • A moment later..
  • Before…
  • Before I knew it…
  • During…
  • Earlier…
  • Finally…
  • First…
  • For now…
  • For the time being…
  • In the blink of an eye…
  • In the meantime…
  • In time…

  • In turn…
  • Just as I realized…
  • Later…
  • Later on…
  • Meanwhile…
  • Next…
  • Now last…
  • Often…
  • Second…
  • Simultaneously…
  • Sometimes…
  • Soon…
  • Suddenly…
  • The next step…
  • The next thing I knew…
  • Then …
  • Third…
  • While…
  •  

    For an extensive list of transitional words and phrases, go to the following website:

    Study Guides and Strategies

    Try retyping a portion of a published text omitting the transition words. Copy onto a transparency and work together to fill in the transitions. Examine the original text to see how the class transitions compare with the author’s.