Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Rainbow Write

Lindsey Link | Published: September 16th, 2020 by K20 Center


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Rainbow Write

This is an ELA strategy that engages students in parts of speech and sentence structure. The interactive and color-coded nature of the strategy helps English-language learners practice grammar.

Rainbow Write


By manipulating color-coded words and phrases, students negotiate the meaning of sentences and interact with different syntactical elements to foster their English language development. Students use words and phrases written on color-coded strips of paper to build sentences. Once they develop an understanding of sentence structure, students can then create and color-code their own sentences to self-evaluate and foster a greater understanding of syntactical structure.  


  1. Begin by providing students with words related to a current unit or topic written on strips of paper in different colors. Color-code these strips uniformly throughout the school year. An example of a color-coding scheme might be: red for adjectives, orange for nouns, yellow for verbs, green for adverbs, and blue for prepositional phrases.

  2. Invite students to build sentences using the colored paper strips. As they practice, students will notice patterns in sentence structure.

  3. To extend the activity for students who don't need as much support with word manipulation, have these students create a sentence without colored paper strips. Then, ask them to color-code their sentences with highlighters to check their work.

Brechtel, M., & Haley, L. (2018, August 16). Sentence Patterning Chart (SPC) Read Game. Be Glad. Retrieved from