Paragraph Writing

Remember, the purpose of writing is to communicate. The more clearly you say something, the easier it is to follow your ideas.
You therefore need a CLEAR structure for the reader to follow.

Let's start with the paragraph. See below model...



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Well-written Paragraphs Should Contain:
  • One Controlling Idea
  • Precise Vocabulary
  • Specific Details that support the main idea
  • Focused topic sentence
  • Closing sentence (simile/ metaphor?)

THINK FIRST...THEN PLAN....THEN WRITE!!

Remember P-E-E

Point: The main idea of the paragraph
Evidence: The facts/ details (PROVE YOUR POINT)- dates, names, events, etc that support your point.
Explanation (the SO WHAT of the facts), where you CONNECT the facts to your point. WHY are you telling me all of these facts...what's their significance to your main idea

For paragraph writing: Editing Tips/ Consider:


  • Is your point/ topic sentence clear and specific?
  • Do your points relate to your topic sentence?
  • Did you PROVE your assertion (point)? Is your evidence specific? Do you include historical facts (proper nouns or numbers) or reference to primary source documents?
  • Do you explain your evidence (the SO WHAT) and how it connects to your point/ topic sentence?
  • Do you use transition words to connect, highlight or signal change of direction?
  • Does your closing sentence restate your main idea and summarize your points
  • Do you capitalize all proper nouns? (e.g. china --> China)
  • Do you join sentences correctly? (e.g. Semicolon [;], conjunction or transition)
  • Do you use the simple past tense for events?
  • Do you spell key words correctly?
  • Do your subjects and verbs agree? (e.g. The merchants was --> the merchants were)

Documents to help

1. Paragraph Writing Graphic Organizer
2. Rubric for Paragraph Writing (see also below)

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For Compare/ Contrast Writing:
1. Transition Words
2. Using complex sentences for compare/ contrast writing

Helpful Websites

1. Purdue University's great writing site: Use this site for instructions on MLA and APA citations:


Rubric for Writing a Paragraph:


Paragraph Rubric PJS FINAL.jpg