infoAbout SentenceBuilders

view_quiltWhat is SentenceBuilders?

SentenceBuilders is a website for teachers and learners of languages. It is a joint project by the people who brought you The Language Gym and the people who brought you TextActivities, TeachVid, Textivate and TaskMagic.

Sentence builders (as a pedagogical tool) are central to the EPI (Extensive Processing Instruction) approach developed and advocated by Dr Gianfranco Conti. See The Language Gym blog for much more information about the approach, including details of Listening As Modelling (LAM) and Reading As Modelling (RAM), which form the basis of the activities used on the SentenceBuilders site.

The idea for a SentenceBuilders collaboration developed following a conversation between Gianfranco Conti and Martin Lapworth at the end of 2017 about the possibility of creating interactive sentence builders that would be capable of generating chunk- and sentence-level interactive activities based on their content. Other things got in the way for a while, but we finally made it happen in April 2021 :)

emoji_objectsThe concept

SentenceBuilder tables contain words and chunks which combine to form sentences, such that each SB table can generate 100s or even 1000s of different sentences.

The chunks (usually as defined by the contents of each box in the table) are used as the basis for various vocab activities, which recycle and practise the content in different ways, including with text-to-speech (TTS) audio.

The sentences generated by the SentenceBuilder table are used as the basis for all sorts of sentence-level tasks, including gap-fills, sentence scrambles, word-by-word or chunk-by-chunk rebuilds, dictation (using TTS), translation both ways, with varying degrees of support and scaffolding.

As well as generating sentences for activities, a SentenceBuilder table is an interactive resource in its own right, allowing teachers to undertake front-of-classlaunch activities based on the content, as well as serving as a great structured knowledge organiser for students.

Activities are combined into activity "Circuits", with activities progressing from easier to harder, with each circuit having a different skills focus. These circuits form the basis of pre-defined assignments, but teachers are free to create their own assignments using any combination of the available activities.

As well as assignments, teachers can set up competitions based on any resource, where students compete for a place on the leaderboard. These competitions can be totally open (i.e. students choose from all activities available) or they can have a specific focus, as determined by the teacher.

See this overview of tracking student activitylaunch on SentenceBuilders.

Each SentenceBuilder can also be printed, as can a variety of worksheetlaunch formats based on the sentences that it generates. And if you'd like to use the content elsewhere – in your own worksheets, for example, or on another platform (such as TextActivitieslaunch or Textivate!launch :) – there are export options that allow you to exportlaunch the chunks or sentences as defined by each resource.

verified_userSB Premium resources

The SentenceBuilders books from the Language Gym team provide the content for most of the SB Premium resources. We launched in April 2021 with resources based on just 2 books: the Beginner to Pre-intermediate books for French and Spanish. We now have SB Premium content based on 20+ books, in 10+ languages! New content is being added constantly, with new languages and levels based on the Language Gym books in the pipeline. See our home page for more details.

We use the term "Premium" to refer to content that is created by us, and to make a distinction between our own resources and those created by the community of SentenceBuilders subscribers.

Most SB Premium resources for French and Spanish also include a range of activities based on "narrow reading" texts, including various gap-fills, text reconstruction activities, Find the L2, etc.

constructionUser-generated content

Teachers can use our SentenceBuilder authoring tools to create their own full-blown "complex" SentenceBuilder resources, just like the ones in the SB Premium section of the website :)

For more info, see this in-depth user-guide on the SentenceBuilders blog: Creating [complex] interactive SentenceBuilder "machines" that work...launch


Teachers can create classes and set up user accounts for their students. Teachers have full access to their students' log-in information and can reset passwords, add and remove students, etc. The school admin can also do this for all classes that are part of their subscription.

Teachers can set assignments in their classes based on any resource to which they have access. Assignments can be selected from the pre-defined options for each resource, or teachers can build their own assignments using any combination of the activities available for a particular resource. They can also be set either for the whole class, or for one or more studentslaunch within a class. Teachers get in-depth step-by-step feedback on students' assignment performance.

If you're looking for something less formal than an assignment, you have the option of setting up class competitions based on any resource, where students compete for a place at the top of the leaderboard. Points scored reflect the number and accuracy of student interactions with the various activities.

Competitions can be completely open, or the teacher can choose a specific focus so that only certain activities are available. They can also be set as Team Competitionslaunch, where the teacher still gets to see each individual student's contribution to the overall score.

See this overview of tracking student activitylaunch on SentenceBuilders.