EL Support Lesson

Compound Sentences in Nonfiction

This lesson helps your ELs identify the role of coordinating conjunctions and compound sentences in nonfiction texts. Use it as a stand-alone lesson or as a pre-lesson to Nonfiction Genres.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Nonfiction Genres lesson plan.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Nonfiction Genres lesson plan.

Students will be able to define and distinguish the various nonfiction genres in the classroom or school library.


Students will be able to identify and build compound sentences with coordinating conjunctions in nonfiction texts using strategic grouping.

(3 minutes)
  • Do a choral read of the language objective with your ELs in student-friendly terms: "I can find and make compound sentences with coordinating conjunctions in nonfiction texts."
  • Write the words "for," "and," "nor," "but," "or," "yet," and "so" on the board. Have students read them to a partner and choose one of the words to use in a sentence. Invite a few students to share aloud with the whole class.
  • Tell students that these seven little words are called coordinating conjunctions.
(8 minutes)
  • Read aloud the tiered words and their definitions.
  • Display a blank Frayer Model on the document camera and demonstrate how you complete the worksheet with the word coordinating conjunction. State the student-friendly definition, examples, and non-examples.
  • Divide students into small groups and hand out a blank Frayer Model to each group. Assign students one of the remaining vocabulary terms.
  • Instruct the groups to collaboratively complete their Frayer Model before presenting it to the class.
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute a copy of the Expanding Sentences with Coordinating Conjunctions worksheet to each student and display one on the document camera.
  • Read aloud the teaching box at the top of the page.
  • Emphasize that it is important for them to know how to understand and write compound sentences to increase their reading and writing skills.
  • Point out and explain the example, while reminding students to place a comma before the conjunction.
  • Assign students a partner for them to complete Part 1 of the worksheet.
  • Model how to write two simple sentences that are related to each other in Part 2. Give students a chance to orally think of two simple sentences to share with a partner, before sharing with the whole group.
  • Confirm or correct the compound sentences they build before giving students time to write them in the space provided.
(10 minutes)
  • Hand out the Compound Sentences in Nonfiction worksheet to students.
  • Tell them that they will now search for coordinating conjunctions in a nonfiction text before revising a paragraph by combining simple sentences into compound ones.
  • Have students read the teaching box to a partner. Invite a student to read the directions of Part 1 aloud.
  • Point out that not all the conjunctions in the text serve as coordinating conjunctions that combine two independent clauses. For example, in the sentence, "In the 1800s, British sailors, traders, and soldiers took the game with them as they traveled, and they introduced it to the people they met along the way," the first "and" connects a list of people, but not two simple sentences. But the second "and" is a coordinating conjunction.
  • Allow students to work with a partner to complete Part 1 and Part 2 together.


  • Read the stories aloud in a small teacher-led group, pausing to clarify new vocabulary.
  • Allow beginning ELs who are literate in their home language to use resources such as bilingual dictionaries and glossaries to help them look up the meaning of unknown words.
  • Beginning ELs can work on only the first text in the discourse level focus.


  • Encourage advanced ELs to work without a partner.
  • Advanced ELs can provide examples of sentences with coordinating conjunctions or rephrase the difference between a conjunction that combines two independent sentences and one that does not.
(5 minutes)
  • Write the following sentences on the board:
    • "Baseball was invented in 1839, so the World Series didn't begin until 1903."
    • "A baseball game usually lasts around 3 hours, or the longest game was 8 hours long!"
  • Tell students that both of these compound sentences have an incorrect coordinating conjunction in them.
  • Hand each student an index card, and have them write their name on it.
  • Instruct students to rewrite both sentences, replacing the incorrect conjunction with one that works better. Collect the index cards as a formative assessment.
(4 minutes)
  • Have students conduct a self-reflection on their personal achievement of the language objective.
  • Reread the objective of the lesson and ask students to show you on their hand (with one finger signifying minimal understanding and five fingers meaning maximum understanding) how well they feel they met the objective.
  • Survey students' responses to determine the path for future lessons on this topic.

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