Essay Lesson Writing

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing an Essay

So your teacher assigned another essay to write. Does the mere thought of putting pen to paper – or fingers to the keyboard – send shivers down your spine? For many students in elementary, middle or high school, it does, but writing an essay shouldn’t be intimidating. As long as you know the basic steps of essay writing, you should be well-equipped to handle any essay topic.

Determine What Type of Essay It Is

There are many different types of essays you might be asked to write in elementary, middle or high school. Some of the most common include narrative, expository, argumentative, persuasive, comparative and literary. Are you presenting an overview or telling a story about the topic (narrative) or are you providing an analysis (expository)? Do you have to convince the reader to adopt a certain point of view or to take a particular action (persuasive)? Are you writing an essay about a book you read (literary)? Determining the type of essay is the first step to writing a targeted essay.

Create an Essay Outline

An essay outline is your road map. It will guide you through to the finished product. When you create an outline, you organize your thoughts about your topic. First, write your topic at the top of the page. Then list all the points or arguments you want to make about the essay topic. Finally, list the facts, examples and statistics that support those points or arguments.

Develop a Thesis Statement

Your thesis should inform the reader what point you will be making or what question you will be answering about the topic. In other words, it is a prelude to your conclusion. A thesis statement should be as specific as possible and address one main idea. Strong theses also take a stand or illustrate the controversial nature of a topic.

Introduce Your Topic

The first paragraph of your essay will introduce your topic and provide direction for the entire essay. The introduction should discuss your main idea, or what the essay is about, then state your thesis and points or arguments that support your thesis.

The introduction also sets the tone for your essay, and you want to grab the reader’s attention with interest and clarity. To capture the reader’s attention, you can make a challenging claim about the topic or present some surprising (but factual) information.

Write the Body of the Essay

The body of the essay provide details for the points in your introductory paragraph that support your thesis. Take the points you listed in your introduction and discuss each in one body paragraph. First, write a topic sentence that summarizes your point then explain why you feel the topic sentence is true. Finally, support your argument with evidence such as facts, quotes, examples and statistics.

Present Your Conclusion

The conclusion summarizes the essay and gives the reader closure. In three or four concise sentences, you should reiterate your thesis and review the main points of the body of the essay. Just be sure not to restate your previous words exactly. You can even briefly describe your opinion of the topic. Your final sentence should uphold your main idea in a clear and compelling manner.

Just remember to tackle each step one at a time. Some people do better when they work backwards from the conclusion. Write a rough draft of your essay first – don’t try to get it perfect the first time through. After you finish your rough draft, proofread it thoroughly and revise until you have a strong, informative essay.

Interactive Essay Writing Classes

Online lessons like Time4Writing’s essay writing classes can help children build and strengthen the foundation for strong essay writing skills in elementary school, middle school, high school and beyond. These interactive essay writing classes build basic writing skills, explain essay types and structure, and teach students how to organize their ideas.

Time4Writing is popular as a writing homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment, for remediation, and as a summer school alternative. All of Time4Writing’s online lessons are led by certified writing teachers who provide valuable feedback after every writing assignment.

Learn more about Time4Writing today!


Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

How-To Writing: Motivating Students to Write for a Real Purpose

It's not easy surviving fourth grade (or third or fifth)! In this lesson, students brainstorm survival tips for future fourth graders and incorporate those tips into an essay.

 

Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Exploring Cause and Effect Using Expository Texts About Natural Disasters

Students explore the nature and structure of expository texts that focus on cause and effect and apply what they learned using graphic organizers and writing paragraphs to outline cause-and-effect relationships.

 

Grades   4 – 7  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

A "Cay"ribbean Island Study

As a pre-reading activity for The Cay, groups of students choose and study a Caribbean island, create a final product in the format of their choice, and finally, do an oral presentation to share information learned.

 

Grades   3 – 6  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

The Houdini Box: What Did Houdini Hide? Writing Creative Endings

Students are encouraged to understand a book that the teacher reads aloud to create a new ending for it using the writing process.

 

Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Developing Citizenship Through Rhetorical Analysis

Students analyze rhetorical strategies in online editorials, building knowledge of strategies and awareness of local and national issues. This lesson teaches students connections between subject, writer, and audience and how rhetorical strategies are used in everyday writing.

 

Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Defining Moments: Charting Character Evolution in Lord of the Flies

Savagery, treachery, lost innocence... Lord of the Flies is rife with character development. Use this lesson to help students chart the character changes of Ralph and Jack, both in groups and individually.

 

Grades   3 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Persuasion Map

The Persuasion Map is an interactive graphic organizer that enables students to map out their arguments for a persuasive essay or debate.

 

Grades   3 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Compare & Contrast Map

The Compare & Contrast Map is an interactive graphic organizer that enables students to organize and outline their ideas for different kinds of comparison essays.

 

Grades   5 – 12  |  Calendar Activity  |  December 5

Walt Disney was born in 1901.

Students describe female characters in Disney films, discuss their characteristics, and write a thesis statement about them.

 

Grades   6 – 12  |  Strategy Guide

Teaching With Podcasts

This Strategy Guide describes the processes involved in composing and producing audio files that are published online as podcasts.

 

Grades   K – 5  |  Strategy Guide

Implementing the Writing Process

This strategy guide explains the writing process and offers practical methods for applying it in your classroom to help students become proficient writers.

 

Grades   K – 12  |  Strategy Guide

Shared Writing

This strategy guide explains how to use shared writing to teach students effective strategies that will improve their own independent writing ability.

 

Grades   K – 12  |  Strategy Guide

Write Alouds

This strategy guide explains how to use write-aloud (also known as modeled writing) to teach effective writing strategies and improve students' independent writing ability.

 

Grades   3 – 12  |  Strategy Guide

Inquiry Charts (I-Charts)

This guide introduces I-Charts, a strategy that enables students to generate meaningful questions about a topic and organize their writing.

 

Grades   6 – 12  |  Strategy Guide

Developing Evidence-Based Arguments from Texts

This strategy guide clarifies the difference between persuasion and argumentation, stressing the connection between close reading of text to gather evidence and formation of a strong argumentative claim about text.

 

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