Each idea that is explored in a body paragraph should be outlined first in the introductory paragraph.The single body paragraph devoted to the idea will explore it at greater length, supported by evidence.The third rap of the hammer occurs in the summation of the concluding paragraph, driving the point securely and convincingly home.
By making reference to the points outlined in the introduction, driving them home one last time, the student-writer is bringing the essay to a satisfying full circle.
This may be accomplished by employing various strategies: an apt quotation, referring to future consequences or attempting to inspire and mobilize the reader.
The 5-paragraph essay, or “hamburger” essay, provides that clear structure for emergent ESL writers.
Generally, this structure employs five separate paragraphs for the entire essay.
If a word or sentence is not assisting that forward motion toward the explication of that question and its possible answers, then it needs to be reworded, rephrased or just plain cut out and discarded. Focusing on that central question throughout the prewriting, writing and rewriting stages helps develop the critical faculties required to discern what to keep and what to throw away.
Providing a clear structure for the student to approach essay writing can do much to build their confidence.Each paragraph serves a specific purpose, melding together to form a coherent whole. It makes the thesis statement, orientating the reader to the purpose of the essay. These make individual points that are further backed up by the various forms of evidence. This provides a summation of the arguments and a final statement of the thesis.While they do not need to follow it rigidly forever, this simple structure outlined above can serve as excellent training wheels for your students. Each body paragraph should make a point, or argument, in favor of the central thesis, followed by an explanation of this point and relevant evidence to back it up.Essay writing falls firmly in the camp of non-fiction. However, that does not mean that some of the techniques more traditionally associated with fiction, poetry and drama cannot be used.One technique that is particularly useful in essay writing is repetition.Using the 5-paragraph structure as outlined above makes planning clear cut. Extol the necessity for students to constantly refer to their planning.Once they have their theses and are planning their paragraphs, share with the students the ridiculously useful acronym P. The mind-mapping techniques popularized by Tony Buzan can be useful at the planning stage and make for easy reference points to ensure focus is maintained throughout the essay.Encourage your students to build all their writing around one central question of the essay.That central question is the engine of the writing, it should drive everything!“Every good story has a beginning, a middle and an end.”Many of us recall our teachers drilling this writer’s mantra into us and our fellow students.This is as true for a good essay as it is for a good story.