How to Use Differentiated Sentence Scrambles

July 21, 2023 3 min read

There are many benefits of sentence scrambles. You can use several variations, but how on Earth do you differentiate them? Read on to find out how!

How to Use Differentiated Sentence Scrambles with an image

What are Sentence Scrambles?

Sentence Scrambles are exactly what the name implies – they’re an activity where students must rearrange scrambled words to form a coherent sentence.

Furthermore, they can be done both digitally and in print. This activity is very hands-on, and so it encourages students to participate in active learning.

Step 1: Build the Sentence

First, students will cut out the words at the bottom of the worksheet to assemble them into proper sentences. This provides excellent sentence structure practice. Once they’ve been assembled, students can glue them to the top of the page, as indicated by the glue icons.


  • Use the versions that include picture clues on the individual words. For students needing additional help, these picture clues can help them apply the phonics skill with more assistance. Clues are provided for two words that contain the targeted phonics skill.
  • Provide a completed sentence for students to refer to as they put the sentence together. This can be used later as a tracing activity as students write the whole sentence.
an image of a completed sentence scramble

Step 2: Identify the Phonics Skill

Next, students will look at the sentence they’ve unscrambled and identify the phonics skill by coloring it. This is the opportunity for all students to apply their knowledge of the targeted skill.


  • Because this is the foundation of the activity, it’s best to keep it the same across the board. All students should identify the word in context.
  • However, if you’d like to challenge students, you can have them identify at least three other words with the targeted skill and write them on the back.
an image of a completed sentence scramble

Step 3: Write the Sentence

After students have assembled the sentence scrambles appropriately, they’ll write and read it. As they write using the guiding lines, this helps build handwriting skills. Ensure students pay attention to the sky, plane, grass, and worm lines!


  • Have students trace the sentence. This is especially helpful for sharpening fine motor skills.
  • Otherwise, use the provided handwriting lines for students to write the sentence independently.
an image of a completed sentence scramble

Step 4: Illustrate

Now it’s time for a fan favorite – illustrating! Students will illustrate in the provided box to demonstrate that they understand the sentence’s meaning.

This is a great exercise to build upon students’ reading comprehension using a visual approach. Plus, who doesn’t love drawing and coloring?!


  • Use the completed illustration so students can still experience coloring without feeling pressured to read, comprehend, and draw.
  • Use a half-complete illustration for students to finish.
an image of a completed sentence scramble

All Differentiated Versions of Sentence Scrambles

Finally, you can see in the image below how the sentence scramble depicted in the examples above is differentiated.

  • Version 1 (most scaffolded) shows one star in the top right corner of the page.
  • Version 2 (moderately scaffolded) shows two stars in the top right corner of the page.
  • Version 3 (no scaffolds) shows three stars in the top right corner of the page.
three versions of a differentiated sentence scramble

Digital Sentence Scrambles

If paper and pencil is an option for sentence scrambles, you can utilize the digital Google Slides version!

The main objective is the same (unscrambling the sentence), but there’s less opportunity for other skills to develop, such as handwriting and cutting and gluing.

Instead, students will look at the picture, unscramble the sentence, then type the sentence. Using Google Slides can help build digital literacy as students practice typing and interacting with a drag-and-drop method.

Google Slides sentence scrambles

BONUS: Students can utilize Google Slides also to practice trick words using typing, drag-and-drop, tracing skills, and more!

Sentence Scrambles Broken Down by Phonics Skill – DONE FOR YOU!

Ready to try sentence scrambles that are done for you?!

Here are a few highlights of what you can find in each resource:

  • Each worksheet has a certain number of stars to represent the level of differentiation.
  • Includes three versions of differentiation per sentence scramble.
  • All pages have convenient labels with each week and unit.
  • There are Google Slides versions for each week and unit.

Find individual units and pick and choose what you need.

Have the full year of Sentence Scrambles prepared for you (just print and go):

Fun Phonics Sentence Scrambles Yearlong Bundle

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