3-sentence introductions enough for novices

Start small with beginning writers. You can teach them to start writing expository nonfiction with three-sentence introductions:

  • First sentence identifies the general topic.
  • Third sentence presents the thesis statement.
  • Second sentence builds a bridge between the first and second sentence ideas.

Of course, that’s not how mature writers write introductions, but it is enough to launch your beginning writers into the composition process. Most of what beginners need to know about how to write they will only learn as they actually write. You need to give them less instruction in the theoretical how-to and more writing opportunities.

Remember writing is a process.

Don’t fret if beginning writers’ introductions are puny or boring as long as their essays have introductions with the requisite three sentences. Beginning writers need to get a feel for the entire writing process before they can work at developing any single part of it

Don’t waste your time talking about what students can learn only by experience. Prepare them as best you can for that first writing experience and throw them into the essay.

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