Sentence Starters for Writing about Graphs


Graphs are a kind of text that we have a set of sense-making strategies for. Just as we prepare students to read any text, we have to prepare them for any graph. This is something our students struggle with and we need to give them opportunities to practice.

We advocate Using Open-Ended Prompts with Graphs in the Adult Education Classroom, and asking students questions like, What do you Notice? What do you Wonder? Another helpful strategy is having students write about (a) the information in the graph, and/or (b) their own developing sense-making process for understanding graphs.

Sometimes the most difficult struggle for our students is actually putting pen to paper and generating text.  They are unsure of how to start and how to develop their ideas and sometimes their frustration causes them to quit before they start.  Providing students with sentence starters, can help them get started and, overtime, begin to internalize some of the questions we want to be part of their reading of graphs.

The URL link above will take you to a student handout with the following sentence starters:

  • According to the graph…
  • One thing about the graph that surprises me is…
  • One thing about the graph that confuses me is…
  • One thing about the graph that upsets me is…
  • __________ confirms my opinion that…
  • One question I have is…
  • When I compare _______________, I notice…
  • One explanation for _______________, might be _______________
  • One thing I knew that helped me understand this graph was…
  • One thing I did to help me make sense of this graph was…
  • One thing that took me some time to figure out was…
  • The number ___ in the graph represents…
  • This graph makes me want to…
  • I would like to show this graph to _______ because…
  • The most important number is this graph is _________ because…
  • When I first looked at this graph…

If you have any other sentence starters that have worked well in helping your students write about graphs. please include them in the comments below and we’ll add them to the list.