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How to Teach Paragraph Writing

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Do you want to know how to teach paragraph writing?  You’ve come to the right place!  Get the skinny on how to teach paragraph writing to kids.

Teaching Paragraph Writing

Words are organized into sentences, and sentences are organized in paragraphs.  But a paragraph is more than just a group of random sentences; those sentences need to share a central idea, or topic.

How to Teach Paragraph Writing

The good news is that teaching paragraph writing is actually quite simple (more on this in a bit).  Your child is ready to learn paragraph writing when she can organize her thoughts into sentences.

Why is teaching paragraph writing so important?  Writing is all about clearly communicating your ideas.  Paragraphs are the next step in organizing your thoughts and presenting them in a way that people can understand.  First step: Paragraph writing.  Second step: Take on the world!

How to Teach Paragraph Writing

Hamburger Paragraph Writing

Now onto my favorite part: food!  A secret to teaching paragraph writing for kids is to use a visual: the hamburger (or veggie burger if that’s how you roll).  

Picture a juicy hamburger with lettuce and tomato.  It has everything, right?  Wrong.  A hamburger needs a bun, which encases the tasty meat and toppings.

Paragraphs are the same way:  they need a bun.  The top bun is the topic sentence.  This sentence introduces your reader to what the paragraph is about.  An example topic sentence would be: “Birds are colorful.” 

The meat, lettuce, and tomato are the details that all relate your topic sentence.  Each one is a sentence.  

Detail 1:  The cardinal is red like a cherry tomato.

Detail 2:  The flamingo is pink because it eats pink shrimp.

Detail 3:  Parrots in South America can be bright blue, red, yellow, and green.

Now it’s time to wrap up the paragraph with a concluding sentence: the bottom bun.  The concluding sentence reminds the reader what the sentence is about.  It is similar, but not identical, to the topic sentence (the top bun).  An example concluding sentence would be: “Birds can be any color in the rainbow.”

Now assemble the hamburger: top bun, meat, lettuce, tomato, and bottom bun.  This is a stealthy (and yummy) way of teaching paragraph structure: 

Topic sentence
Detail 1
Detail 2
Detail 3
Concluding sentence

I’ve made a hamburger writing template to make it even easier for your child to write a paragraph.  Check it out in my TPT store!

Paragraph Writing Graphic Organizers and Anchor Charts

Paragraph Writing Topics

Another key component of how to teach paragraph writing is knowing what to write about.  Enter paragraph writing topics.  Need some inspiration?  Check out this list:

Pets: hamsters, dogs, cats, fish, etc.

You can talk about the way they look or the way they act–or even describe your particular pet!

Hobbies: baseball, ballet, drawing, Pokemon, Minecraft, swimming, etc.

You can give three rules, teach three steps of your hobby (how to draw a bunny), or tell about three components (three types of Pokemon: water, fire, and grass).

People: Grandma, Grandpa, neighbor, cousin, baby brother, etc.

You can describe them or tell three facts about them (what jobs Grandma has had or where she has lived).

Places: restaurants, amusement parks, deserts, rainforests, states, towns, countries, etc.

You can tell about three things you’ll see when you visit or three fun facts.

When teaching paragraph writing, always choose a topic with which your child is very familiar.  Research is its own separate skill, so save that for when paragraph writing is mastered.

How to Teach Paragraph Writing

Paragraph Writing for Kids

Now that you know how to teach paragraph writing (and how deliciously simple the hamburger model makes it), get writing!  Your child will soon be changing the world with his clearly communicated ideas!

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