Continued from page 1
2.The Development ·English teachers ·Three sub-topics ·Example ·Supportive Information ·Table legs ·Example
3.The five paragraph model ·Eighth graders ·The model ·30-page papers ·A matter of organization
If you’ve been following, you already know where we’re going . . .
The Five-Paragraph Model
Without a doubt this is skill that should be taught in every English class from second grade on. The sad fact, however, is that too many students have gone completely through school and never so much as heard of it. In fact, when I put all these pieces together for an eighth grade English class I taught, one student asked, “Why hasn’t anyone shown us this before? It makes writing so much simpler.” I have to agree with him—it does, in fact, it makes writing anything simpler.
The five-paragraph model is simply this: Paragraph one is introduction. It tells in broad strokes what you are going to be discussing. Paragraph two presents your first sub-topic and each supporting leg under it. Paragraph three is second sub-topic and its legs, and paragraph four is third sub-topic plus its legs. The final paragraph, number five, is conclusion in which you simply restate what you have talked about.
Now, if you are thinking in terms of word-count (how many of us spent hours in school counting words to make sure it was long enough? Ugh!), here’s a simple way to do that. Break word count down into paragraphs. So, if you have to write 250 words, first paragraph would be 50 words, second 50 words, and so on. For most of my students, 250 words seemed overwhelming at first, but 50 didn’t. By breaking it down, task seemed manageable, and they weren’t left looking at a blank piece of paper with no clue what to write.
This technique also words for longer papers. My seniors had to write a 30-page research paper (it was a school requirement). Many if not most of them were understandably panicked by this idea. However, when we broke paper down in form of model, it didn’t seem nearly so intimidating.
The first page was a broad overview. Pages 2-10 were first point; pages 11-20 were second point; pages 21-28, third point; and pages 29-30 were conclusion. Admittedly even ten pages on a point is a lot, so we broke each of them down again so that each “leg” was more like a sub-topic with legs under it. By time we finished breaking it down, they were no longer looking at a 30-page monstrosity, they were now looking at 15-20 five paragraph papers. One paragraph at a time didn’t seem nearly so overwhelming as “I have to write a 30-page paper.”
My suggestion for you is to take this model and practice a few times. Don’t focus on frightening notion of writing an article.
Organize it, then break it down, and write it section by section. I think you will be surprised at how much less intimidating process of writing becomes. With a little practice, you too will be writing e-zine copy like a pro.
Need more writing tips? Come visit the author of this article, Staci Stallings, at http://www.stacistallings.com You’ll be glad you did!