Part Two: Help Your Child Write an Essay

The 5 Part Essay Structure is not the only method for writing an essay but it is a good tool for developing logical structure and cohesion in an expositional piece, whether short or long.  Longer essays will have sub paragraphs under the main ones. These sub-paragraphs will contain topics that support the main one, in each section. Have your child sort the ideas into general topics before becoming more specific.

An illustration of this kind of sorting: If you sorted clothes in a closet, you may have winter and summer weight divided. Within these divisions you may separate the pants from the shirts, then sort them by color within that category.  The same skill would be used in essay writing, with sentences.

A short essay will be 1  1/2 pages to 2 pages long.  A long essay may be ten pages. Page count or word count does not include the title page or a bibliography.

Pattern of the 5 Part Essay  (Informative or Persuasive)

Introduction:  Present the thesis/topic sentence and an attention getting device, or “hook” which may be a question, a quote, or a fact most people don’t know.  This paragraph should also include general or background information and any definitions needed for understanding. Introduce 3 supporting premises or sub topics that will be covered and transition into the first paragraph of the “body.”   More detail on this process will be discussed, later.

The Body:  Premise 1 or Fact 1 is given with supporting evidence, facts and/or arguments. These may be statistics, anecdotes or quotes from an authority on the subject, and reasoning.

Premise 2 or Fact 2 is asserted with supporting information.  (Same as above.)

Premise 3 or Fact 3 is asserted with supporting information. (Same as above.)

Transitions:  To create transitions between paragraphs, you may bring out a connection or a difference  between the two categories  or ask a question that leads into the next paragraph.  The three facts must be tied together in some fashion  (not arbitrary and independent) to make a cohesive essay.   Example: “While comic artists have the potential to make a fair living at their craft, their art can also move the hearts of society and influence culture.”  – Jane Clark.  This transition can be placed at the end of the paragraph about their income or at the beginning of the article about their influence (but not in both places in the same paper).  If you introduce your paragraph with a transition from the previous one, continue that pattern. If you end your paragraph with a transition, also do that in the next one, if it applies. But do not force a transition where there isn’t one.

The Conclusion:   Show how the evidence ties together to support the thesis/topic.  Summarize and evaluate the information (without using personal pronouns such as “I”),  leading the reader toward your viewpoint on the topic. Restate your original thesis/topic or reference it as a way to wrap up the paper, neatly.

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