Definition of Sentence Composing

Sentence Composing is an approach to teaching improved sentence structure by using respected professional writers as mentors whose sentences become models for students. Using those models as a starting point, the approach uses four sentence manipulating activities–unscrambling, imitating, combining, and expanding–to provide practice in learning from the mentor how to write similar sentences.

Little knowledge of grammar is needed. The activities of grammar–naming of sentence parts and parsing of sentences–dissect sentences:

For all your rhetorician’s rules
Teach nothing but to name his tools.
–Butler, Hudibras
Sentence composing doesn’t name the tools. Instead, it uses them to build better sentences.

All sentence composing materials by the Killgallons use exclusively sentences from recognized, published authors in the belief that this print-rich environment provides the seed for success for teachers and students in working together, with the authors as mentors, to produce improved sentences.


With the original publication of his sentence composing materials, Don Killgallon changed the way thousands of high school English teachers and their students look at language, literature, and writing by focusing on the sentence.

Unlike traditional grammar books that emphasize sentence analysis, these worktexts asks students to imitate the sentence styles of professional writers, making the sentence composing process enjoyable and challenging. Killgallon teaches subliminally, nontechnically the ways real writers compose their sentences, the ways students subsequently apply within their own writing.