Document Type


Publication Date

January 2014


With the move away from formal grammatical instruction in many US primary andsecondary schools over the past thirty years, college writing teachers often findthemselves dealing with student papers riddled with basic syntactic errors. Sentencediagramming, which requires students to parse a sentence into its most basic components,provides a method to assist students in mastering syntactic fundamentals.The following exercise adapts this old pedagogy of diagramming sentences to a newtechnology, Prezi presentation software, in the hopes of increasing studentcomprehension of writing basics. Diagramming sentences, whether one is familiar withthe rocket, tree, or another diagramming process, is a proven pedagogy that helpsstudents sharpen their analytical skills. Martha Kolln and Robert Funk provide a richportrait of traditional sentence diagramming in their textbook Understanding EnglishGrammar (9th edition). That text provided the initial inspiration to adapt this establishedpedagogy for our contemporary digital environment.