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What are you using to teach it? I have some techniques I used for 3rd-5th and they really worked and I had both poor readers (reading was very difficult to learn) and two who had a hard time writing (not content as much as sensory issues). If you'd like to know my process, I'd enjoy sharing it!

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My reluctant reader (took 3 years to get him reading basic Bob books!) and hesitant writer went to a workshop with me and we used a technique for a paragraph that converts to the 5 paragraph essay easily. I have loved it ever since and use it with my 4 boys when they have writing projects to this day.


First you take the topic of your sentence and write it in a circle. For the first several times we do the circle in one color with a colored pencil... So, you have a red circle drawn in the middle of the page. For younger grades you might have them write the topic down, for older grades, they write a topic sentence. I like having them write phrases instead of the full sentences when they don't like to write.


Then you draw three short lines going out from the circle and three circles at the ends of those lines. We like to make those circles blue or yellow. All circles are the same color. Now we come up with 3 supporting ideas for the topic. We brainstorm a bit. Older grades should write full phrases or sentences that support the topic. Then, as you continue brainstorming, think of descriptive words or juicier details and those can be written on lines going out from those circles.


Then we draw a lengthy rectangle at the bottom (in a third color) and write a sentence that wraps it all up inside it.


Now the child has a solid paragraph. Older children have just about written it all. We do this in one day. The second day they start with the middle circle and write their topic sentence, being sure to indent. Then they write their supporting sentences, with the descriptions or details. Sometimes they get excited and add in extra sentences! Then they write the concluding sentence.


Now, for the 5 paragraph report. Paragraph 1, topic sentence, goes in the middle red circle. Don't even think about the supporting sentence of that paragraph yet. Then the topics for paragraphs 2, 3 and 4, which should be supporting information for the main topic, go into those 3 outer circles. And finally, the concluding paragraph topic goes in the bottom rectangle. I use this format all through middle school, too. It helps them organize and "see" their report. Then, depending on how long the assignment is supposed to take, they get out 5 pieces of paper and draw out their circles for each of the 5 paragraphs. On those pages they add in the details and brainstorm and research, if necessary. Then they write their rough draft, edit and rewrite to turn in.


This method has served us very well.

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