Humans are creatures of habit. We get used to doing things a certain way, and it's often hard to change. The point I will make here is that students develop the habit of writing sentences in which the subject is followed by the predicate. Once they are made aware of this trend, which makes sentences sound "sing-songy", they can usually take care of the issue by making a few minor adjustments in the sentence structure. One strategy to try is asking them to write or find sentences with a variety of sentence structures, using the parts of speech in different orders. Look for sentences opening with the following parts of speech: verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs, objects of the preposition, etc.
Here is an example of a sentence playing Around the Word in Eighty Ways. Example: Adjective beginning--Sour pickles are what I love to eat early in the morning. Pronoun beginning--I love to eat sour pickles early in the morning. Verb beginning--Eating sour pickles is what I love to do early in the morning. Model starting this sentence some other ways, then look for several other sentences to try the concept with. It's amazing how simply changing sentence structure can bring creativity and variety to a story!
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