Crafting the Introductory Paragraph

As a teacher, I can't tell you how many times my students have had difficulties with starting and finishing their papers. This easy to use process I utilize is sure to improve a student's ability to construct a simple and functional opening paragraph, complete with a thesis statement! Yes, the "dreaded" thesis statement will no longer be a problem for my munchkins.

Basically, I present my students with the following information:

The Introductory Paragraph provides a first impression allowing the reader to form a lasting opinion regarding the

topic under discussion.

The Introductory Paragraph includes:

  • a good “hook” or topic sentence. (I have already completed this guide of mine before I attempt the opening paragraph concept.)

  • two to four sentences providing details about the subject.

  • the thesis statement making a claim or stating a view that will be supported.

We then conduct about of weeks worth of practice on the thesis statement. The basis of what I present to them prior to practicing is as follows:

The thesis statement is the foundation of your entire paper. It provides the key or central focus to be presented in an essay.

After the topic sentence (hook) and supporting sentences, it’s time to include the thesis statement. A well-constructed thesis statement should . . .

  1. make clear the point being made in the paper.

  2. suggest possible evidence regarding the topic.

  3. structure the writer’s argument or focus.

A strong thesis statement is the most important component of your paper. A thesis statement:

• lets the reader how you will explain the importance of your chosen subject.

• gives the reader knowledge of what to expect within your paper.

• a thesis offers the reader a way to understand and interpret your material.

• makes a claim that others may not agree with.

• is a single sentence within your first paragraph that presents your argument or case to the reader.

See below for example of how you will break down a subject into a thesis statement for future practice.

Subject: Great White Shark

Topic: Attack Patterns of the Great White Shark

Thesis Statement: The Great White Shark is drawn to sounds and vibrations in the water when hunting for prey.

Type: Analytical

Finally, when all our practice is said and done, I introduce that our opening paragraph is bascially a sandwich. The top piece of bread is your topic sentence; the bottom piece of bread is thesis statement. Now you need to fill in between the slices of bread with a few supporting sentences, which lead smoothly into your thesis statement. For each of the practice pages, complete the following: Fill in your topic sentence (top piece of bread) Add your supporting sentences Fill in your thesis statement (bottom piece of bread).

In the end, I've given my aspiring writers a head start, by teaching them a simple and constructive way to create an introductory paragraph, as shown in the video provided.