The Sentence Café has been developed out of a desire to bring highly successful teaching and learning strategies for writing before a wider audience and to use technology to further engage and motivate young writers. We are committed to helping teachers and children develop communication skills, which are fundamentally important, not only in terms of educational success and improved life chances, but also for happiness and fulfilment in life.
Grammar and sentence construction can be a struggle for many learners and can become a barrier to the progress of even the more able writers. At the Sentence Café, we recognise that teaching and learning in this crucial area can leave learners cold and teachers struggling to move children on. Our products combine proven teaching and learning strategies with fun, fantastic resources and cutting edge technology to put children – and their teachers – ahead of the game in writing.
The Sentence Café comprises two distinct elements:
The Teacher Resource is a classroom based tool which supports the National Curriculum and delivers outstanding results in Literacy.
The Mission On! Children’s App runs in tandem with the Teacher Resource, reinforcing the learning that takes place in the classroom and is aimed at 5-11 year olds.
Our teaching resource is a step-by-step programme of learning, which gets right to the
heart of the skill of writing. It is designed as the grammar and sentence construction
element of a comprehensive English curriculum. Learners become highly knowledgeable
about word families, punctuation, grammar conventions and sentence construction
techniques, and highly skilled in applying this knowledge in their writing.
Teachers become empowered to help children set firm foundations for good writing thanks to detailed guidance, excellent resources and a set of simple but highly effective principles. Grammar and sentence construction do not need to be boring and over-facing for children and a dull headache for teachers.
These all-important aspects of writing can be developed through simple but effective lessons which children really enjoy. They can be developed through a teaching and learning programme which gives teachers practical ways to set firm foundations for effective writing - a programme that helps learners to make real progress. Read More>
Mission On! puts children firmly in control of their own development as writers. It brings a condensed, child-friendly version of the teaching resource to their fingertips - and a whole lot more. The app, available in infant and junior versions, gets children VIP access to The Sentence Café itself where our expert alien friends take the lead on consolidating understanding of key grammar and sentence construction concepts. Once inside the app, users are introduced to the 4 zones: MagaZone, Learning Zone, Game Zone and AR Zone. To ensure enjoyment and benefit are maximised, users choose the appropriate age phase (5-7 years or 8-11 years) and access the zones in order.
First comes MagaZone. Here, digital magazine Mission On! takes children to a new and exciting location every month. This location provides the backdrop for an adventure story and the focus for bite-size chunks of non-fiction tailored for young readers, all introduced by the friendly aliens from The Sentence Café. Themed activities, including craft, recipes plus pencil and paper teasers, complete the 24 pages.
The reading material is carefully pitched at the appropriate age phase. It is designed to encourage reading for pleasure and to broaden children’s enjoyment and understanding of the world around them. The non-fiction pages are particularly rich in geography, history and science content. Read More>
The Sentence Cafe serves teachers and learners gourmet grammar with drive through simplicity. The Sentence Cafe delivers up a new take on sentence construction - a must have staple for informed teaching - with guaranteed improved results as demonstrated from the referrals shown below.
"A truly gifted and inspirational teacher, Mike Cain, creator of The Sentence Cafe, is rightly held in high regard by fellow colleagues, parents and pupils. Children are enthused and motivated by his innovative approach to the teaching of literacy and, in particular, to that of writing. His unique approach to the teaching of grammar and sentence construction has contributed to outstanding outcomes in the end of primary school assessments. This new and simple approach to supporting pupils in the complexities of writing has now filtered down to all year groups. It has provided teachers with an exceptional tool in developing children’s writing."
Head Teacher of St Helens Primary School.
"The sentence structure work The Sentence Cafe provided my staff turned the
tide in writing standards in this school. Now HMI, who commented that they had "rarely seen such a high standard of writing in a primary school before", send
schools to speak to us about how we deliver Literacy lessons."
Head Teacher of Holy Cross Primary School, Merseyside
"Mike's support has been exemplary in helping the school make significant
changes to the delivery of literacy and supporting teachers new to leadership
roles and to year groups. The members of staff he has worked with have nothing
but praise for his enthusiastic, professional approach. The Sentence Cafe
support has been invaluable in helping the school move forward."
Head Teacher of St Teresa's Primary School, Merseyside.
Firstly, we hope that The Sentence Café is a place children want to come back to again and again because it is a fun place to be. We also hope that children will thrive in a learning environment where they do not feel pressured or overwhelmed. We serve a no nonsense menu of learning which strips away unnecessary complexity; complexity which is all very well for theorists but can often leave learners hungry for practical guidance. The Sentence Café recognises how children learn best and delivers what they really need to develop as writers.
The importance of regular reading of quality fiction and non-fiction to develop effective writing skills cannot be overstated. This is why our Mission On! magazine guarantees reading materials your child won’t want to miss, delivered every month. As stated earlier, grammar and sentence construction form only a part of the rest of the picture and The Sentence Café recognises just how fundamentally important a part this is. These are the areas that tend to be a struggle for many learners and a barrier to their development as writers. Finding ways to overcome these barriers often makes the job of the teacher anything but easy. The Sentence Café offers an easily digestible solution.
The expert in recognising and using different types of words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, articles, prepositions). He calls in help from The Spice Guys when adjectives, adverbs and powerful verbs are used to add 'spice' or description to sentences. Wordo is a happy, playful character who likes nothing better than having fun with words and creating interesting sentences. He is a waiter and oddjobber at The Sentence Café but words are his real passion because words are what makes life fun. Can you imagine a world without words? A world without talking, singing, jokes, stories, plays? Wordo can't!
Robo Reflector is an expert in reflective thinking. He helps us to think again about any situation so that we can learn from it. He knows that, to make sure our sentences are as good as they can be, we need to re-read them to check that they say exactly what we intended them to say. Taking a second look also helps us reflect on what we have learnt and gives us ideas for improvements. No-one knows this better than Robo Reflector. He is a waiter at The Sentence Café. He doesn’t talk but his message is clear. If we want to learn to be a better writer, it’s no use always relying on other people to tell us how to do it. We need to be prepared to do lots of thinking for ourselves and, with Robo around to remind us of what we already know, there is no limit to what we can achieve.
Making sentences more 'tasty' or interesting is The Spice Guys' speciality. Sal and Pep are the go-to guys when a little inspiration is needed to hook readers and put clear pictures in their minds. They are experts in using adjectives, adverbs, powerful verbs and figurative language. The Spice Guys are the chefs at The Sentence Café. Pep can be a little grumpy but he’s as happy as his brother when they are doing what they do best-spicing up sentences with well-chosen descriptive words. They are about as far away from The Spice Girls as you can get except they can get so excited about using interesting words that they often burst into song!
Nobody can stick ideas together like Sticky Bob. She is the connective expert. Show her two ideas or sentences that belong together and she'll show you just the connective you need. From but and because to however and although, you can trust Bob to pick the right glue for the job. Roberta – Bob to her friends – is the cleaner at The Sentence Café. She’s a real joiner - the perfect person for any get together. She's the friendly one, super chilled and always wears a smile. Ideas come together when Bob's around. She won't rest until things are worked out and everyone's as happy as she is.
Punc is a punctuation expert. When you have a question about full stops, commas and the like, she is lightning quick with the answers. Stops, pauses, questions, exclamations and dramatic effects are all part of Punc's service. The result is confidence for the writer and absolute clarity for the reader. Punc is the boss of The Sentence Café. She’s a powerful character - not only a punctuation expert but also a kung fu expert! She's a stylish and disciplined force of nature. She's lightning quick and there is no punctuation problem she can't handle. She is the decisive, clinical expert you need on your side when dealing with one of the trickiest aspects of writing.
Stan is the man to turn to for matters of standard English. In fact, he's nothing short of a guardian of the language, upholding the rules that ensure our writing can be understood by any English speaker. The rules are:
- being consistent with subject and tense
- avoiding slang
- avoiding double negatives
- making sure nouns and verbs agree
- avoiding using adjectives as adverbs.
Stan is a polite, slightly snooty yet amiable character who is a stickler for the rules - the rules of standard English. Maitre de at The Sentence Café he is sweet and mild-mannered (like Stan Laurel) but the English language must be protected and Stan is the man! Where standard English is concerned, he will not be moved.
Captain keeps us all in line with our capital letters. It's his job to make sure we know our proper nouns from our common nouns and to remind us to begin every sentence and every piece of direct speech with a capital letter. Captain is a cheerful chap who is full of beans. He has a quick (if a little cheeky) sense of humour and is always looking for fun. He’s very busy and is around to offer a helping hand when a capital letter is needed (he always salutes a capital letter). He has huge respect for proper nouns and sentence openers. Capital letters, Captain salutes you!
What does 4 Step keep under his
hat? Answer: a simple recipe for
making sure every sentence is
perfect - the 4 Step Rule. The rule is:
• Think it
• Say it
• Write it
• Read it
With 4 Step as a friend, we can be proud of each and every sentence we write. 4 Step is the dishwasher at The Sentence Café. He’s a big-hearted cowboy who can’t help people enough. He has lots to teach us about writing and all his lessons, of course, come in 4 simple steps!
The Scribbler is a mischief-maker. He is a mysterious figure who is seldom seen but, when there is a chance to cause trouble, you can be sure he won’t be far away. He has an odd sense of fun, taking great delight in using – or misusing - the English language to cause confusion. The more trouble this causes, the better!
So the next time you see an incorrect sign, a misleading notice or a worrying instruction, you can bet The Scribbler has been about. He loves to make you make mistakes with your writing too so beware! Listen to the advice of The Sentence Café crew and watch out for The Scribbler.
The Sentence Café’s alien crew could not achieve their mission on Earth without a little help on the ground. That help comes from Charli and her twin brother, Elliot. Charli is a fun-loving, confident girl who loves a challenge. She is smart, caring and cool. Oh and she happens to have a travel writer for a father which means she gets to go on adventures all over the planet.
In short, she is the perfect person to help beat The Scribbler and bring a world of understanding to children everywhere.
Elliot is certainly no second best. He may prefer a lower profile than his sister but, what he lacks in self-confidence, he more than makes up for in ingenuity and know how.
He likes almost nothing better than solving a problem and spends most of his spare time building things and taking on the latest computer games. Almost nothing – after all, what could be more fun than winding up his sister? When Punc recruited Charli for The Sentence Café’s mission, she got two for the price of one!