Strategy

Cloze Sentences

Cloze Writing, Fill in the Blank, Sentence Completion

UDL 2.4

Cloze sentences are sentences in which key words are deleted, covered up or blocked out. When presented with cloze sentences, students must use context clues to determine the missing word. As the strategy helps direct students' attention to particular words in a sentence, it can help students understand how language works. As such, cloze sentences may be particularly useful for English language learners and students with language processing difficulties. Additionally, cloze sentences encourage all students to think critically about a text and monitor for meaning while reading. The strategy can be implemented across grade levels to support grammar and language skills. Cloze sentences are also an engaging way to reinforce content-specific vocabulary and academic language.

Implementation Tips

Student-created Cloze Sentences
Challenge students to create their own cloze sentences with vocabulary words. They can then trade their cloze sentences with partners and complete each other’s sentences. Students can also create cloze sentences from their writing by identifying overused/repeated words. Have students cover these words and replace them with synonyms.
Supporting English Language Learners
To support English learners or struggling students, use shorter, simpler sentences. Creating multiple cloze sentences for one word can aid vocabulary development. It may also be helpful to reveal the first letter of the missing word or provide a word bank with 2-3 answer choices for each sentence to support emerging readers.
Using with Sentence Strips
A helpful technique for using this strategy with younger students is to write the cloze sentences on sentence strips leaving a blank where the missing word belongs. Place the strips in a pocket chart, and write the vocabulary words on index cards. Model using the index cards to try different words to complete each sentence.
Support with a Picture
A related picture can also accompany cloze sentences. Students can then use the context clues in the text and the image to determine the missing words.
Support with a Word Bank
A word bank may or may not be included with cloze sentences.

Examples

Lower Elementary
Cloze sentences can be used to practice specific language and grammatical skills.The following example focuses on using correct pronouns. Yesterday, Kevin and his mom walked to the store. On the way, _____ (his) mom pointed to a raccoon in a tree and _____ (she) shouted, “Wow! That’s the biggest raccoon I’ve ever seen.” Kevin was so excited that _____ (he) started jumping up and down. The raccoon heard all the noise, and _____ (it) quickly ran away. For the rest of the trip, _____ (they) kept looking for another raccoon.
Upper Elementary
Cloze sentences can help reinforce content-specific vocabulary. A short paragraph with targeted vocabulary removed can be created by the teacher or copied from a familiar book or story. In the example below, students apply science knowledge to complete the sentences. Word Bank: carnivores, omnivores, herbivores _____ (Herbivores) are animals that only eat plants. However, _____ (omnivores) eat both plants and animals. _____ (Carnivores) are generally considered predators and only eat meat.
Middle School
To help students practice using formal vocabulary in their writing, create cloze sentences in which students will need to replace informal statements with more formal vocabulary. Informal: Kaylee and her friends hung out at the beach on Saturday. Formal: Kaylee and her friends _____ (relaxed) at the beach on Saturday.
High School: Transitions
In the cloze sentences below, the transitions have been removed and students must recognize the relationship between ideas to supply the correct transition. To better familiarize students with different types of transition words and phrases, they can be given a list of transitions to use when selecting their answers. Baseball has been called “America’s pastime” and throughout most of the last century it was considered the most popular sport in the United States. Today, _____ (however), many people argue that this title should be given to football instead. Many people point to football’s large viewing audience, especially for events such as the Super Bowl, to support its popularity over baseball. _____ (Additionally), football teams across the country have extremely loyal fan bases in their home cities. _____ (On the other hand), baseball teams _____ (also) have loyal fans around the country as indicated by the the overwhelming number of tickets sold for baseball games each season. _____ (In fact), it is estimated that the average person will attend more baseball games in their lifetime than football games.
English Language Learners
Use cloze sentences to help ELLs build knowledge of high-utility, academic vocabulary terms. To support overall language development as well as vocabulary acquisition, these cloze sentences may include two blanks, with one for the target vocabulary word and another for students to produce their own response as it relates to the context of the sentence. For example, to reinforce the meaning of the word productive, a cloze sentence may look like this: I am usually more _____ (productive) working in __________ when I am studying for an important test. While all students should include productive in the first blank, there are many ways to correctly complete the second blank.

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