3 Tips for Teaching How To Write a Paragraph

3 Tips for Teaching How To Write a Paragraph
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For kids, learning how to write a paragraph can be hard. Really hard. My kids read a ton everyday, so I assumed this meant they had a pretty good understanding of what a paragraph entailed. I remember when it came time to learn how to write a paragraph, I assigned them to write one about their favorite video game.

It was a total train wreck.

What do you mean indent the first line? What do you mean by topic sentence? What do you mean….

So we had to do a few things. The first was introduce the cheeseburger method of paragraphs. (This has been around for  quite awhile, so I wouldn’t have a clue who to attribute it to.)

With a cheeseburger, you’ve got a top bun, some meat and fixins, and a bottom bun. With a paragraph, you’ve got a…

How to write a paragraph

how to write a paragraph

how to write a paragraph
Just as a great cheeseburger needs two buns and some good stuff in the middle, you need the same kind of things to make a great paragraph. And for my very visual and hungry boys, this was just the explanation they needed to start thinking about paragraphs in the right way. (Note: As my sons got older, we started thinking about paragraphs as more of an upside down open-faced sandwich. Because in real life, if every paragraph had a conclusion sentence, reading would be very, very, repetitive.)

Next, we had to figure out that pesky topic sentence. It didn’t matter how I tried to explain it to them, they couldn’t quite grasp it. So I wrote this on the board.

how to write a paragraph
Is this a paragraph?  I asked the boys.

They were confused because although it looked like a paragraph, they agreed that the actual sentences together didn’t make sense.

Yes, I said. Because when a paragraph starts out with I really like living on a farm, the following sentences should really be about…

Living on a farm! they both said.

Yep. That is because “I really like living on a farm” is a topic sentence.

Oh! I get it! they said. (I literally saw the light bulb switch on over their heads!)

We wrote a real paragraph, with the topic and conclusions in blue and the “meaty details” in brown. 🙂

how to write a paragraphJust to see if the boys could put together their own paragraphs (but not writing yet), I mixed up some sentences to see if they could identify the “buns” and the “meaty details”.

how to write a paragraph
 They could totally do it. We had success!

how to write a paragraphIt’s always fun to figure out fun ways to teach something, especially if it’s something that’s tricky to understand!

3 Tips for Teaching How to Write a Paragraph - The Hmmmschooling Mom

Tired of the sugarcoated version of homeschooling? Read my book The Homeschool Highway: How to Navigate Your Way Without Getting Carsick.

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