Mr. Baumgartner's 10th Grade English Littlerock High School [email_address] .org
Every essay has a beginning, a middle, and an end. In a five-paragraph essay, the first paragraph is called the introduction . The next three paragraphs consist of the body of the essay . The fifth and final paragraph is the conclusion . This structure is not written in stone, however. Look in a newspaper or magazine; you'll rarely see an essay that follows this exact formula. On the other hand, it's a good place for beginners to start. When you feel more confident, you can get more creative and break free of the five paragraph formula.
Dramatic Opener or Hook Transitional Sentence Thesis Statement Topic Sentence Details and Examples Concluding Transition Sentence Summary Statement (restate your thesis) Clincher The body of your essay can be three or more paragraphs long.
There are THREE important things to consider as you write your essay: subject , a udience and purpose . SUBJECT Throughout your educational career, teachers will be giving you writing assignments. They want to see if you understand material covered in class, they want to know your opinion on a particular topic, and they want to determine if you can express ideas clearly. There will be occasions when you will want to write an essay in other situations as well. Maybe you want to write a letter to the editor of a newspaper, or perhaps the boss at a job you're applying for wants you to write why you think you're qualified for the position. In any case, most of the time, the subject of the essay will be given to you. Even if it's not, the primary thing you want to remember is to write about what you know.
AUDIENCE Many times your audience will be your teacher. Sometimes, even though your teacher will be the primary reader and grader of your essay, he or she will ask you write to a different audience. Other times your audience will be your peers, parents, employers, newspaper editors, or the community. Your audience should determine how you will write and what you will say in your essay. Before you start writing you should do the following. 1. Understand your audience's interests and perspectives. 2. Evaluate your topic in relation to your audience. 3. Adapt your topic, examples, and language so that they are appropriate for your audience.
The purpose of your essay will determine what type of essay you write. Each type has certain uses and styles. Below are five types of essays you will write in 4th grade.
Narrative - recalls an event or series of events
Expository - explains, clarifies, or illustrates
Response to Literature – shows that you understand a literary work (poem, book, story) and can make judgments about the text with evidence to support it.
Summaries - write summaries that contain the main ideas of the reading selection and the most significant details
Information Reports – a report where you do research, and you cite facts from different sources (books, magazines, on-line articles).
Every essay has three parts: a beginning, a middle, and an end. The beginning is also called the introduction . The introduction has two main purposes: to draw the reader in and make him/her want to read more and to prepare the reader for the direction that the essay is going to take. The introduction usually has three parts: 1. The hook (or dramatic opener) consists of several sentences that pull the reader into the essay. 2. The transitional sentence connects the hook to the thesis statement. 3. The thesis statement is one or two sentences that states the idea of the essay.
Hooks (dramatic openers) are used to grab your reader’s attention at the beginning of a paragraph or in a report or essay. The hook is often a short sentence and is placed before the topic sentence. You can also use another very short sentence at the end of the essay or report to remind the reader of the opening. These would frame your essay. Here are some examples of some hooks that you could use. QUESTION What is more valuable than gold? (essay on friendship) Possible closing: A man with many friends is rich. AN IMPERATIVE Look into the heavens and count the stars if you can. (a command) (Report on outer space) Possible closing: We will always wonder about the size and greatness of our universe.
QUOTE: “Gold! Gold! Gold from the American River!” (Report on the Gold Rush ) Possible Closing: Many people during the Gold Rush thought they were going to get a lot of gold; instead, a lot received a new home instead! STATING A FACT In 1850, 92 percent of California was male. OR OPINION: (Report on the Gold Rush) Possible closing: Now a 160 years later, the gold is gone and so are the men who came to mine it. ANECDOTE: Bob Ellis was sad to leave his family in New York, but gold fever was strong in his blood. (Report on the Gold Rush) Possible closing: Bob Ellis didn’t win a fortune in gold mining, but he did earn enough money to bring his family to California.
A very basic thesis statement is one or two sentences at the end of the first paragraph that tells the reader the main idea of your essay. A thesis statement should do these three things: 1. It should clearly express what the essay is about. 2. It should make a discussible point. 3. It should indicate the structure of the essay. Here is an example of a thesis statement for an essay about why a dog would make a great pet. My three major points will be that dogs are loyal, easy to train, and make good companions. (these are your topics for the BODY of the essay). Here is an example of a thesis statement that I could use for my essay. Thesis Statement: A dog would make a great pet for me because they are very loyal, they are easy to train, and they make good companions.
Now you are ready to put the introductory paragraph together. Remember that the transitional sentence acts like a bridge to make a smooth connection between the hook and the thesis statement. You don't always need to include a transitional sentence, but you should always evaluate your introduction to see if one is necessary. Here's an example of an introductory paragraph for the "favorite pet" essay using a quotation for the hook. The author Aldous Huxley once said, “To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs.” As I consider the pet I would like to have share my life, it’s Huxley’s quote that sums up why a dog would be the best choice. Because of its sense of loyalty, its ability to protect you and its great companionship, a dog is the perfect pet. THESIS HOOK TRANSITION
What is the body of an essay? The body of an essay is the part between the introduction and the conclusion. It contains the evidence. So far, we have used the example of three paragraphs, but there can be a hundred or more paragraphs to an essay. It all depends on the subject of your essay. If you have a lot to say about your subject, you will probably have more than 3 body paragraphs. Each paragraph in the body of the essay contains the following sentences: TOPIC SENTENCE: This sentence tells the reader what the paragraph is going to be about. DETAIL SENTENCE: Your paragraph can have many detail sentences. The detail sentence tells your reader a little more about your topic. Each detail sentence must include an EXAMPLE. CONCLUDING/TRANSITIONAL SENTENCE: This sentence wraps up what you have already told the readers and gets them ready for the next paragraph.
Just as every essay has a clear beginning, it should have a clear ending. The last paragraph, also know as the conclusion , should make your essay sound finished. The concluding paragraph typically has two parts: 1. The summary statement is one or two sentences which restate the thesis in a fresh way to reinforce the essay's main idea. 2. The clincher is a final thought which should create a lasting impression on the reader.
The summary statement is an effective way to start your concluding paragraph because it helps to drive home the ideas you've expressed in your essay. Look at your thesis statement again and rework it in a new way. Avoid repeating key words and phrases from the thesis statement because you don't want the summary statement to sound boring or repetitive. Using a thesaurus is a good way to find new, interesting words. Here is an examples of thesis statements and summary statements: Thesis Statement: Many Americans are buying the Toyota Corolla because of its competitive price, fuel economy, and high resale value. Summary Statement: Reasonable pricing, low miles per gallon, and an attractive resale value have all contributed to the popularity of the Toyota Corolla in today's market.
The clincher , also referred to as the closer , is your last opportunity to connect with the reader. One way to make the most of this moment is to return to the technique you used for your hook. Here is a list of clinchers. Complete the Anecdote (the story you told at the beginning. Ask a final rhetorical question. Use a new quotation or refer back to the opening quotation. Continue the original description of a character, setting, or object. Make a prediction or recommendation based on the facts you researched.
Now let’s put it all together. Here's an example of a concluding paragraph for the "favorite pet" essay that uses a quotation as the clincher. Nothing can compare to a dog’s dedication, intelligence, and friendship. Because a dog offers all these wonderful qualities and more, it is once again clear why people say that “ a dog is man’s best friend.” Dogs not only make great pets but also wonderful companions. Summary Statement Clincher
Revision is actually something a good writer does throughout the writing process. Every time you consider which ideas to add or delete, every time you change a word or phrase to make your essay sound better, you are revising. Revision does not mean "recopying" what you've already written. Revision means making changes to the content of the paper so that every word, sentence, and paragraph makes sense to the reader. Many students tend to rush through revising; they're anxious to get done with the assignment, but a good writer will revise as much as necessary before the deadline to get the best possible result. Three areas in particular to examine as you consider how to improve the content and style of your essay are as follows: 1. Clarity: Is the essay clearly and logically written? 2. Unity: Do all the paragraphs relate to the central idea? 3. Coherence: Do the ideas flow smoothly?
Revision Questions (Ask yourself these questions as you read your essay) YES NO 1. Did I answer the prompt? 2. Does each paragraph do what it’s suppose to do (Introduction, Body, Conclusion)? 3. Will a reader be able to understand and follow my essay?(transition words, ideas should be in logical order)? 4. Do all the facts and examples support my thesis (the main idea)? 5. Are sentences clear and effective (do I use a variety of sentence types and dress ups)?
Proof reading is different from revision. Whereas revision focuses on improving the content of the essay, proofreading deals with recognizing and correcting errors or punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and grammar. PROOF READING CHECKLIST 1. Have all fragments and run-on sentences been eliminated? 2. Does the essay use correct paragraphing and indentation? 3. Is there agreement between subjects and verbs? 4. Are pronoun references clear? 5. Has correct verb tense been used correctly and consistently? 6. Have commas, apostrophes, and semicolons been used correctly? 7. Have words been capitalized correctly? 8. Are there any sentences that could be combined to provide sentence variety? 9. Does the essay show interesting and accurate word choice? 10. Has a dictionary or spellchecker been used to correct spelling errors?
Set your essay aside for awhile if you have time. Come back to it later. You will notice ways to make your essay better, and you'll see more errors to correct. Read the essay aloud to yourself. Often you can hear errors that you may not catch while reading silently. Another trick is to read your essay backwards. You will able to catch errors more easily. Have an adult or peer read your essay and give you suggestions about confusing parts.