Writing Tips for 5 Paragraph Essays

Does the sound of writing an academic essay sound overwhelming to you? It does to a lot of our students, so we have broken it down so it does not seem like such a scary task.

Beginning with the following in mind, you can start brainstorming some ideas… then make sure it follows these rules. Make sure your thesis statement has both a topic and controlling idea. For example, ‘The Importance of Sleep in our Lives’… sleep is the topic and the controlling idea is its importance of it in our lives.

Include a hook, connecting sentence(s), and thesis statement in your introduction paragraph. For example, "Why do I have to go to bed?" you ask. "Sleep is boring, and I'm not even tired!" (hooks the reader into being interested in the response.)

Then connect this with your thesis statement with a bridge/connecting sentence… For example, “However, sleep is more important than you may think. That heavy, groggy feeling is awful - you may feel irritable, be clumsy, and our brain is not functioning at its best.”

Make sure your 3 topic sentences (usually the first sentence in each of the 3 body paragraphs) also have topics and controlling ideas (which come from the thesis statement. Write transitions using words such as: firstly, secondly, moreover, furthermore, finally, in conclusion… as you start each paragraph. Include transitions such as: in addition, furthermore, also, etc. within each of your body paragraphs between your arguments/support (because there should be 2 or 3 pieces of support in each paragraph).

Make sure that each of your supporting ideas is followed by an example and/or further explanation. Add a concluding sentence in each body paragraph that re-states your topic sentence. Vary your sentence structure between short, medium, and long sentences.

Include colons and semi-colons if you can: colons to list or explain something; semi-colons to join 2 related and complete sentences together. Check your essay for articles, subject-verb agreement, and spelling at least 2 or 3 times! PROOFREAD! Your conclusion should repeat your thesis statement, have a connecting sentence, and end in a prediction, suggestion, or opinion. Do not repeat yourself or use two words that have a similar meaning.For example, “I saw many different and unique shells that day.”

Questions to ask yourself about your essay:

  • Is your hook interesting? Does it grab your attention and make you want to keep reading?
  • Is your topic interesting?
  • Do you have enough support? Did you give examples, explanations, etc. for your support?
  • Did you ask yourself the 5 questions after writing the topic sentence? Mostly you can ask why and answer that within your paragraph… who, what, when, where and how will also help you think of support.
  • Does each body paragraph have a concluding sentence that re-states your topic sentence (in a different way)?
  • Did you proofread your essay?
  • Did you proofread again?

Have fun! Be creative! Research! Find interesting topics! Learn something new! Be courageous! Try something new! Excite your teacher! Excite yourself! Show your parent(s) what you have written!