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Perfect Paragraphs—One Bite at a Time!

Definition:  A paragraph is a group of sentences that tells about one main idea. 

What if you had to write five paragraphs in 30 minutes on five different topics?  Could you do it?  That’s what some students who participated in a recent English competition in Shanghai had to do.  They were given one topic at a time, one minute to prepare and five minutes to write.  Pressure?  You bet!  Possible?  Absolutely!

Anyone can write perfect paragraphs quickly if they follow the Burger Paragraph Recipe.  You’ll also learn to make a great burger.

Burger Paragraph Recipe

A perfect paragraph is like building a hamburger one layer at a time.  The top bun and the bottom bun hold all the stuff in the middle together. 

  1. Top bun: Introductory sentence: This is your topic sentence.  It tells the main idea or opinion.

  2. Meat: Second sentence: supports the main idea by adding details.

  3. Cheese: Third sentence: supports the main idea by adding or explaining details.

  4. Lettuce: Fourth sentence: supports the main idea by adding more information.

  5. Additional sentences are optional.  Think: pickles, onions and tomatoes.

  6. Condiments: Add specific sensory words and phrases to decorate your paragraph in style.

  7. Bottom bun: Closing sentence: closes by restating the main idea in a slightly different way.

It’s okay to have more than five sentences in a paragraph, but five is acceptable if they get your point across.

Things to keep in mind to make the best burger possible—um, I mean, paragraph: 

  1. Indent the first line to let the readers know that you are beginning a new paragraph.

  2. Capitalize the first word of each sentence.

  3. Use words and phrases specific to your topic.

  4. Connect your ideas with transition words.

  5. Punctuate each sentence correctly. 

  6. Start each sentence with a different word.  Use the sentence starter ideas from the last few columns. 

  7. Vary your sentence length.

World Ambassador Program - Check out the latest from the World Ambassador Program in Shanghai, China.


Cindy’s Workshop - resources for teachers for teaching writing, including a sample workshop.  www.cindysworkshop.com/cw

Contact Cindy at cksavage@yahoo.com


Technical Support - information if you have trouble reading a download.

About Cindy - Read about Cindy Savage, young adult author, and her around the world adventures