Glue Words (Transitions)
word choice; organization; revision
Mentor Text Suggestions:
- Cow by Jules Older
- One Dark Night by Lisa Wheeler
- When a Monster is Born by Sean Taylor
- The Other Dog by Madeline L’Engle
Do you have students who begin every sentence with “And then…” or students who begin every sentence the same way as this student did?
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.
For an extensive list of transitional words and phrases, go to the following website:
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.