The Five Paragraph Essay




·        To develop awareness of, and familiarity with, basic five-paragraph essay structure

·        To practice planning and drafting the five-paragraph essay




·        To demonstrate more effective writing through the use of consistent essay form




Using an essay you have recently written (if possible), analyze the following things:

1.      How is it organized?  Does it have separate “parts” or is it all “lumped together”?

2.      Is it easy for a reader (who doesn’t know anything about the topic or you) to follow?

3.      Did you clearly support your opinion or position with specific details and examples?


New Instruction:


1.      Read the following article and view the slide show on the elements of the five paragraph essay. 

2.      Take notes on key points, the “shape” of the essay, and elements of each paragraph.

3.      Create an essay outline for future reference. 


a.      Article:

b.      Slide show:


4.      Print (at least) two copies of this outline worksheet for a five-paragraph essay. 

5.      You may want to print additional ones for future use.


6.      Read these samples of five-paragraph essays. 

7.      As you read, note (on worksheet printouts) the organizational pattern followed by each.

a.      Example 1:

b.      Example 2: 


8.      Now, you will write an actual basic five-paragraph essay! 

9.      Complete this on-line interactive essay writing tutorial.  Print a copy of your essay for your notes.


Feedback and Review:


1.      Use specific five-paragraph essay technique for two classroom writings. 

2.      Afterwards, show your notes and draft to your instructor for feedback and discussion.  

a.      How did using these techniques affect your writing experience? 

b.      How will your writing change when you focus more on a systematic approach to planning and supporting your ideas?


Transfer of Knowledge or Skills:


1.      Apply elements of essay drafting to writing formal letters and for clearly organizing discussions, arguments, meetings, etc. 

2.   How does being thoughtful and organized BEFORE these activities change the outcome?


  Click here F to return to Writing Homepage.