Enhancing Expository Essays: Writing to Prompts for Success on the Test

By: Mary Rose

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In order for good writing to be interesting, informative, and complete, it must include elaboration such as details, description, examples, and/or vignettes. This lessons helps you teach students how to include these paragraphs in all of their writing, and not just for the test.

Includes 4 reproducibles:
• an expository prompt and writing activity (no elaboration)
• an expository essay activity (with elaboration)
• an expository prompt and writing activity (with elaboration)
• transition phrases (to help students get from one paragraph to the next!)

Grades 3 - 12

Help for struggling and inexperienced writers Most expository essays will ask students to give reasons why, so beginning writers tend to begin every expository paragraph the same way: The first reason why, the second reason why, the third reason why Point out that while this is a correct response to the prompt, it is boring. Guide students in their writing so that they use “the ___ reason why” only once in an essay. Other times, they can use these paragraph starters: “One reason is that..., “Another reason…,” I also think…,” “First of all…”, “Secondly…,” “Last of all…,” or “Finally...” There are a variety of transition phrases students can use on page 59 (included). However, if you have students who are really struggling with writing, do not give them these choices of transition phrases. For this lesson, you should select each of the transitions to begin the next paragraphs—at least this first time. Later, they will be able to self-select and write independently!

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