Paragraphs: Parts

Contributor: Delaine Thomas. Lesson ID: 12752

A sandwich isn't as satisfying when it isn't made correctly. The same is true of our writing: when the parts aren't right, it's just not as good. Learn the first steps to constructing a literary meal!

categories

Writing

subject
English / Language Arts
learning style
Visual
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio:

How do you like your burgers?

What toppings do you usually add to a hamburger?

  • Do you like onions, tomatoes, cheese, or pickles?
  • Would you rather have just the bun and burger?

Everyone has different preferences for what they would like to have on their hamburger; they might even want it plain, with just the meat and bun. However you like it, it is up to you to make that decision.

What does this have to do with writing? A hamburger can help you remember the parts of a paragraph. The top bun is the topic sentence, the meat and toppings are the body (which includes supporting details), and the bottom bun is the closing sentence.

Take out a piece of paper and pencil. As you watch Paragraph Structure, by Shaun Macleod, Smrt English, take notes on the parts of a paragraph and what is included in each part:

 

  • It is very important when you are writing that you have a strong topic sentence. Your topic sentence tells your reader what they will be reading about. It should also give a specific detail or opinion that will get the reader interested. It should not begin with, "In this paragraph…" or "Today I will be talking about…" Neither of those are very exciting openings for your paragraph.
  • The next part of the paragraph is the juicy part, like the hamburger. It is where you give supporting details or more information about the topic. You use this section to keep the reader interested by giving them details that are very descriptive and interesting. Be sure to put the details in an order that makes sense.
  • The last part of the paragraph is the closing sentence. The purpose of this sentence is to wrap everything up, motivate someone to make a decision, or transition into the next paragraph if you are writing more than one.

Read the two examples of a paragraph below. Which one is better? Why is it better?

It is winter. There is snow on the ground. I enjoy thinking about gardens. I like to imagine all kinds of lovely flowers. I can almost see their bright colors. I can almost smell their fragrant perfumes.

In winter when snow is on the ground, I enjoy thinking about gardens. I like to imagine all kinds of lovely flowers. I can almost see their bright colors and smell their fragrant perfumes.

Did you think the second one is better? If you did, you are correct. The first paragraph has short, choppy sentences. The second paragraph combines some of those sentences and varies the sentence type and length. They both include the topic sentence, supporting details and closing sentence, but the second one is better written than the first.

Remember, all three parts of the hamburger are important. You wouldn’t want to just eat a bun without anything on it. You also wouldn’t want to leave either of the pieces of bun off because the toppings would make your hands messy. All three parts are equally important.

Continue to the Got It? section to practice identifying the different parts of a paragraph.

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