Sentence Analytics is a learning software company dedicated to improving literacy and grammar skills for K-12 students. Founded on the belief that sentence diagramming absolutely works and that its effectiveness has been consistently proven over time, our company has created a software that increases students’ ability to comprehend increasingly complex language. This is the foundation that makes advanced learning possible across all subject areas, for students of all backgrounds and needs.
While sentence diagramming can be traced back to the 19th century, it is just as relevant and effective in today’s classrooms. The main barrier is that it is time-intensive to do it manually. Our company bridges the gap by maintaining fidelity to the original method while merging it with up-to-date technology. 21st century learners are accustomed to using hands-on and interactive software in their day-to-day life, so this approach is natural to them and creates a path to literacy success.
Our software utilizes staged learning to keep students motivated and engaged. It also helps the learner see the organic whole of the sentence and at the same time examine the parts in relation to that whole. This greatly increases the student's ability to comprehend increasingly complex language. The result: more correct answers.
The biggest obstacle to success with sentence diagramming is the laborious drawing by hand of the complicated structure. Any errors are difficult and time consuming to correct. It is at this point that students can become discouraged and lose heart. Our software takes care of this task which allows the instructional time to be spent on understanding meaning of the sentence.
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"Sentence diagramming can help us realize each word's purpose and know whether we really understood the sentence or not. Traditional grammar practice cannot allow us to understand the relationship between words and sentences so thoroughly. It's fun to draw the diagrams. I think my students will be willing to spend 10 minutes drawing the diagrams. Every time I checked my work against the answer key, I felt nervous. I felt tremendous pride when I got them right! These last three days of classes helped me understand some grammar issues I didn't even know I had. Sentence diagramming is effective because it makes us think back and forth, considering each word's placement, which is helpful for understanding sentence structure and using correct grammar."
"My 7th grade students had never passed an English exam before. To most of them, learning English was merely a requirement for school. They kept getting discouraged from negative results when they did try to study. When we first started sentence diagramming, the students found the approach new and interesting. Even the students who didn't want to attend class or take notes started practicing and performed well on tests. The course has increased their motivation and confidence. They're beginning to find that English-learning is not as hard as they thought, as long as they use the right methods."
"I wanted to go abroad to get an MBA degree. I took the TOEIC test a few times, and my scores did not improve. I took extra tutoring lessons, but they didn’t really work. After taking the Diagramming Grammar course my scores in both reading and grammar improved over 100 points!"
"Before this course, I used to check the dictionary for every single word in an English academic research paper and still didn’t really understand the meaning. Nowadays, these obstacles seem much less frustrating. It’s a pity I didn’t discover the course until right before graduation. Had I learned two years ago what I have learned now, my literature review for my doctoral dissertation wouldn’t have been so painful."
"I took this course to learn Professor Annie’s method of analyzing sentences. Slowly, I realized I can understand original text in English. A few days ago, I came across some long sentences I used to have difficulty understanding. I can understand them now! Learning to comprehend English really is about 'experiencing the process."
"The most important factor is that we can understand what Professor Annie is lecturing about, unlike other English elective classes where the professors just speak English the whole time, and we can barely understand them, leading to our feeling defeated and discouraged. I’m not afraid of English anymore. Diagramming Grammar is the coolest English class I’ve ever taken."
Have you heard of sentence diagramming before?
Experts trace the origin of sentence diagramming back to 1877. Two professors at the Brooklyn Polytechnical Institute, Alonzo Reed and Brainerd Kellogg, put forth the notion that students would better learn sentence structure if they could see the sentence as a graphic whole. They developed this notion as an improvement on the work of Stephen Watkins Clark who in 1847 devised a workable, if somewhat cumbersome, system of sentence analysis involving bubbles. After publication of Reed and Kellogg's book Higher Lessons in English, the practice quickly took root and spread across America where it remained popular for 50 to 60 years but then began to die away. However, sentence diagramming spread well beyond the USA, and so a very similar system is taught in many European countries.
In Europe, some linguists saw an opportunity to make the diagrams even better. The classic example is by the French linguist Lucien Tesnière, who applied ideas that were already circulating in the Linguistic Circle of Prague to school grammars. His innovation was the stemma, which looked rather like Reed-Kellogg diagrams but culminated in a single top node for the root verb. (Hudson, Lexicon Valley, 2014) Danish researchers are developing tools to apply the latest linguistic research to the teaching of grammar in school.
Sentence diagramming is still taught today and has its fervent defenders. Noted author and educator Kitty Burns Florey states, "When you're learning to write well, it helps to understand what the sentence is doing and why it's doing it and how you can improve it." (NPR ED How Learning Happens, Juana Summers, August, 2014) For some students, the diagram is the Rosetta Stone that unlocks the beauty and mystery of written language.
The use of graphic organizers is now standard practice across all academic areas. These tools allow the student to see the organic whole of a structure and at the same time examine the parts in relation to that whole. Sentence diagrams (early graphic organizers) were ahead of their time in helping teachers meet the needs of students with varying strengths and deficiencies. Rediscovering these marvelous tools and updating them for the technology-driven 21st century allows students to develop visual literacy while using the hands-on interactive software to master the complexities of comprehending advanced academic text at a high level.
Grammar is an abstract concept that is not easily grasped by traditional instruction. The use of a sentence diagram helps the visual learner identify the key features of a sentence. Once these features are "marked" by the learner, they are easier to acquire when they appear in new sentences.
The most efficient method of expediting learning is through minimizing content into smaller bundles that can be mastered before moving to the next learning task. To accomplish this, non-essential words must be weeded out so the student can focus on key words. Sentence diagramming makes the key words easier to identify.
All humans are reward driven. When we receive a "prize" for an interim accomplishment, we are more likely to keep at the task until we have mastered the entire process. Sentence diagramming by its structure and process involves this staged learning with rewards at every level. It is not a game per se, but it has the features of a puzzle and the provides the satisfaction that comes with solving a puzzle.
Many studies dating back over a century have found that formal grammar instruction is an ineffective and inefficient way of teaching student writing. However, systematic grammar instruction that encompasses speaking, reading and writing into an organic process seems to be effective when working with students learning academic English at the Middle and High School level. As each language strand improves, it seems to pull the others along leading to a stronger command of speaking, writing and comprehending.
Grammar instruction has fallen out of favor in most public schools many of which have opted for an ad hoc approach to convey basic notions of grammar such as subject and verb while teaching grammar, if at all, as a component of teaching writing. When it comes to reading comprehension, grammar is ignored almost entirely. The reason for this gap is the presumption that students intuitively understand the deep structures of grammar and will eventually through trial and error "get it." Other reasons center around a concern for singling out students who are not as linguistically adept as their peers.
Adding to the chorus of those opposed to traditional grammar instruction is the voice of the most influential and best-known linguist of the second half of the Twentieth Century, Noam Chomsky. His contributions to the area of language development all point away from the child needing to be taught "grammar" in the traditional sense. Chomsky believes there is only one human language with a number of local variants. Children are born with a Universal Grammar hard-wired into their brains and use this tool to recognize the type of language they are dealing with and will then set their grammar to the correct one. He calls the set of language learning tools provided at birth the Language Acquisition Device. Since the child already has the tools to learn what is needed, teaching traditional grammar will only impede development by creating confusion.
Another factor in limiting grammar instruction is the belief by some educators that such instruction stifles student creativity. Yet another school of thought argues that there is no connection with understanding the workings of grammar and being able to read or write effectively. During an era where the freedom of the student to "develop" free from constraints has been a driving force in educational thought, grammar has been thrown off the train.
Grammar instruction is based on rote methodologies tends not to transfer effectively to growth in reading or writing ability. This is bad. And an even more toxic unintended consequence is that students exposed to this type of grammar instruction tend to become bored with both the instruction and the homework. Hence an approach that focuses on worksheets and repetition of rules is, for the most part, time wasted. The key shortcoming of the worksheet approach is its lack of authenticity. This lack of authenticity stems from the fact that the real-world is not about filling in blanks. The student either comprehends another's whole message, or they produce their own. These authentic products are then taken apart and examined structurally. Once the tasks have been processed, learning takes root. This is what the Orton Gillingham approach suggests about three useful outcomes of systematic grammar instruction: it assists with comprehension skills, it improves written expression, and it helps with cognitive organization and structure. This methodology is the most efficient for lifting the competent student to the excellent level as well as lifting the struggling student to the level of competency.
It important to understand that low-performing students need to be taught using the following approach: from PARTS to the WHOLE, SIMPLE/CONCRETE to ABSTRACT/COMPLEX, all pathways of the brain should be accessed simultaneously, and constant review of the materials is important while adding one new concept at a time. This helps the child to see how the new concept fits in with the old concept to understand the big picture. (Orton Gillingham Online Academy)
Even though some studies claim that that formal grammar instruction is an ineffective and inefficient way of teaching student writing, systematic grammar instruction that encompasses speaking, reading and writing into an organic process seems to be effective when working with students learning academic English at the Middle and High School level. As each language strand improves, it seems to pull the others along leading to a stronger command of speaking, writing and comprehending. Grammar instruction is a key component in this process.
Helps students understand all parts of a sentence
Responsive design so you can use the software on all devices
Creates a hands-on learning environment, which keeps students engaged
Psychologically sound practice that creates instant reward
A revised system that's more robust for sentence diagramming
Easy-to-use software in classrooms
Our software increases reading comprehension, which is an essential part of all standardized tests, math included. With better comprehension, all students can easily answer a couple more questions correctly. For these 400,000 students, this is the difference between failing and passing.”
failing rate on STAAR EOC, Spring 2017
tests failed by 1 question
tests failed by 2 questions