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How to teach subordinate clauses

Unit 1


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When teaching children about subordinate clauses, it can be helpful to begin by talking about the etymology of the word ‘subordinate’ - which has its roots in Latin and means to be placed in an inferior rank. This gives us a clue that the subordinate clause is the part of the sentence that provide additional, often less important, information It’s useful to break down sentences with children and explore the constituant parts, and Shareen walks us through how she does this - identifying the subject, verb and object of a main clause, and the subordinating conjunction that introduces the subordinate clause itself. We also look at what distinguishes a relative clause from other types of subordinate clauses. Subordinate clauses often appear on the KS2 tests, and we examine how children might be taught to answer a tricky example in which they have to identify whether the word ‘after’ has been used as a subordinating conjunction or a preposition. We see also how a subordinating clause can be simultaneously, for example, a fronted adverbial or a prepositional phrase. And there are subtleties involving commas that need to be introduced - an example from the SATs test showing us how many children were unable to identify a relative clause that did not feature commas.

Course Materials:

Presentation Slides - Download

.pptx file

Training Handout - Download

.pdf file

Course Creator

Image of Shareen Wilkinson

Shareen Wilkinson

An experienced primary school teacher and senior leader, Shareen currently runs a successful education consultancy in London. Working with LAs across the country, she has an extensive track record of raising standards in English. Writing and advising for Letts, HarperCollins, Rising Stars and OUP, Shareen also acts as a subject expert on reading and grammar for the DfE.

About the Course

These sessions focus on deepening and developing subject knowledge in primary English. Key areas (e.g. grammar, writing and spelling) are explored in depth, so that teachers can feel confident when delivering them in the classroom, and there are plenty of practical ideas to try too.

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