Step-by-step instructions for planning, outlining, and writing a 5-paragraph essay. The most important part of writing a 5-paragraph - or any other style - essay has little to do with the actual essay writing: When it comes to a successful essay, the most crucial step is the planning. In fact, a properly planned essay will practically write itself. The first advice you should provide students about to embark on an essay-writing adventure, therefore, is to plan what you will write about - and plan to write about the assigned topic. The second part of that advice might seem obvious and unnecessary, but we all know those students who fail to carefully read the question or prompt and then too quickly write about a vaguely related topic; or those who believe essays are graded on word count and prefer to write a lot about a topic they know well - or everything they know about a variety of topics - rather than risk writing too little about a less familiar, though assigned, topic. Students need to be made aware that assigned topics for most writing assessments already are quite broad; they often need to be narrowed and focused; they rarely should be broadened.
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