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Writing Paragraphs

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms

❶A basic paragraph structure usually consists of five sentences:


In time, students learn how to write a paragraph by taking those sentences and organizing them around a common topic. Learning how to write a paragraph can be challenging since it requires knowing how to write a great topic sentence , using supporting details and transitional words , as well as finding a strong concluding sentence.

In fiction, writing a paragraph means understanding which ideas go together and where a new paragraph should begin. Articles will assist you in guiding your students and the activities allow them to practice their skills using printable worksheets and quizzes, video lessons, and interactive games. For further instruction on how to write a paragraph, eight-week writing courses are available for all levels. Without strong and vivid supporting details, it hardly matters what a great topic sentence a writer has created for a paragraph.

The supporting details are important enough that you could think of them as the real meat of any paragraph. It is important for students to know how to write a conclusion, whether to drive the final point home or to transition to the next point. Before — Original Draft Sunday is my favorite day of the week.

Teacher Observations Before The topic sentence restates the prompt but does not unify the paragraph. However, the idea is buried in this draft. After — Revised Draft Sunday is my favorite day because I spend the day watching football with my dad. Teacher Observations After The topic sentence connects the writing prompt with a summary of the main idea.

To keep the paragraph coherent, the most relevant details have been polished, and the others deleted. The closing sentence summarizes the paragraph and emphasizes the main idea.

What is a paragraph? How do you write a paragraph? Unity in a paragraph begins with the topic sentence. Every paragraph has one single, controlling idea that is expressed in its topic sentence, which is typically the first sentence of the paragraph.

A paragraph is unified around this main idea, with the supporting sentences providing detail and discussion. In order to write a good topic sentence, think about your theme and all the points you want to make. Decide which point drives the rest, and then write it as your topic sentence.

Order refers to the way you organize your supporting sentences. Whether you choose chronological order, order of importance, or another logical presentation of detail, a solid paragraph always has a definite organization.

Order helps the reader grasp your meaning and avoid confusion. Coherence is the quality that makes your writing understandable. Sentences within a paragraph need to connect to each other and work together as a whole. One of the best ways to achieve coherency is to use transition words. These words create bridges from one sentence to the next. You can use transition words that show order first, second, third ; spatial relationships above, below or logic furthermore, in addition, in fact.

Also, in writing a paragraph, using a consistent verb tense and point of view are important ingredients for coherency. The reason I stress practice is that many students will start a new sentence on the next line instead of continuing to the end of the paper. Many of my students have a difficult time going to the end of the paper because they have been taught to start new sentences on the next line.

Have the students read the paragraph aloud. Ask students what the paragraph is about. Once they have correctly answered, ask the students if there were any sentences that told them what the paragraph would be about. They should answer that all of the sentences talk about the main idea. Each group receives a bag, takes out the items, and discuss what the idea is.

On a sheet of paper, they write their answer. Then bags are exchanged until each group has received all the bags and written down their ideas. Then as a class, review the contents in each bag and discuss the main idea of each bag.

Click here for some main ideas and items you can use with this activity. Identifying the Topic Sentence: Have students copy a short paragraph. Ask students what the main idea is. Then explain that all paragraphs have a topic sentence, which tells the reader what the paragraph will be about. Ask students to identify the topic sentence sometimes I hint that the topic sentence is at the beginning of the paragraph Have the students use the green crayon to underline the topic sentence.

Leave out the topic sentence and in its place draw a green line. On sentence strips, write the topic sentence of each paragraph. Tell the students that each paragraph is missing its topic sentence.

Place the sentence strips with the topic sentences in a visible spot by the charts. Have the students read the paragraphs and the topic sentences. Using tape, have students place the topic sentences onto the correct paragraph. For the rest of the week, the students copy or receive worksheets with short paragraphs.

Using a green crayon or marker, students must underline the topic sentences. Click on the two worksheets below for samples and practice. Review the activity on identifying main ideas. Point out the the items talked about the main idea. Post some short paragraphs or use previous paragraphs from the lesson above. To further extend this concept, have students read paragraphs that contain sentences that do not belong.

Here is an example: I would like to have a new pet. I have a cat and a dog. Goldfish and birds would be good pets. Maybe I will get a hamster or a rabbit. Students rewrite the paragraphs making sure to omit the sentence that does not belong.

You will understand why when you read the next part: Click to get a printable traffic light. Green, yellow, and red construction paper strips, large traffic light chart see above , traffic light worksheet for each student.

Give each student 1 green strip, 3 yellow strips, and 1 red strip. Brainstorm topics with the class and write onto a chart. Choose a topic and explain that students are going to learn how to write a paragraph using the Traffic Light System. Point to the chart and discuss with students that there are three parts to a paragraph-- a beginning topic sentence , a middle supporting sentences , and an end ending sentence. Take out a green strip and have students do the same.

Have students come up with a topic sentence based on the topic they have chosen. For example, the topic is school. The topic sentence can be: School is very important.

Everyone writes the topic sentence on a green strip. Explain that green means "go" and we have begun our paragraph. Have students take out their 3 yellow strips. Explain that they have to think of three supporting sentences, or sentences that will are about the topic sentence. Write the students' sentences the yellow strips. You learn how to read books. Teachers teach you how to add and subtract. You learn how to write and use computers. Have students write the three sentences onto their yellow strips.

Ending sentences can a repeat the topic sentence in a different way, b express how we feel about the topic, c express what we think about the topic.

It is important to go to school. I love going to school.

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Before writing a paragraph, it is important to think first about the topic and then what you want to say about the topic. Most often, the topic is easy, but the question then turns to what you want to say about the topic. This concept is sometimes called the controlling idea.

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A paragraph is defined as “a group of sentences or a single sentence that forms a unit” (Lunsford and Connors ). Length and appearance do not determine whether a section in a paper is a paragraph. For instance, in some styles of writing, particularly journalistic styles, a .

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How to Write Paragraphs. In order to write a good paragraph, students need to understand the four essential elements of paragraph writing and how each element contributes to the whole. The four elements essential to good paragraph writing are: unity, order, coherence, and completeness. Aug 24,  · How to Write a Paragraph. Four Parts: Planning Your Paragraph Writing Your Paragraph Reviewing Your Paragraph Paragraph Help Community Q&A. The practice of writing paragraphs is essential to good writing. Paragraphs help to break up large chunks of text and makes the content easier for readers to digest%().

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Writing Paragraphs In writing, students begin by learning letters, then words, and finally sentences. In time, students learn how to write a paragraph by taking those sentences and organizing them around a . Parts of a Paragraph Topic Sentence. Supporting Details. Closing Sentence: How to Write a Paragraph Prewriting Paragraphs. Writing Paragraphs. Editing Paragraphs.