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Building Skilled Writers Step-by-Step: One Page Papers and Beyond

Over the past two months, the writing focus has expanded from writing single

sentences to writing a basic and an expanded paragraph. Going from a five sentence

paragraph to a five paragraph paper is the next logical step. Since this size paper is

common for a short report assignment, knowing how to write a clear, one page paper

is a key skill for the dyslexic student.





Pre-writing list making


Beginning paper writing with a brainstorming list of ideas of what might be included in

the paper is crucial for the struggling writer because it allows him or her to let their

creativity loose and generate ideas of what to write about without the stifling effect of

the actual writing process. Here are some starter ideas for paper brainstorming. Title

the brainstorm list by its topic.


After the students make brainstorm lists, use the “I do, we do, you do” method to

teach them to select the three best ideas from their brainstorm list. Organize the three

main ideas into three supporting paragraphs rather than three supporting sentences.

The main idea will be expressed in the topic sentence that begins with a transition

word, and detail sentences will be flesh out the topic sentence. Concluding sentences

for each paragraph can summarize the paragraph’s main point and segue into the next


supporting paragraph. Once the supporting paragraphs are written, go back and add a

topic paragraph to provide the purpose statement along with some details about why

this paragraph is important. The concluding paragraph will be an expanded version of

one of the three purposes for a concluding sentence: reflect the writer’s opinion, offer a

solution to a problem or suggest an action to be taken.


Students will revise and correct their rough draft. It is helpful if students read the

paragraphs aloud to themselves, as well as starting with the concluding paragraph,

and working their way through the paper by considering each paragraph in reverse

order from how they are written. Underlining or circling words to be spell checked is

helpful. A checklist for essay revisions is included at the end of this article.


Final Draft


It is time to recopy one last time to create a final draft. Using a ruler under the sentence

being copied will help raise the odds of a successful transfer of all the corrections onto

the page. You can code errors in pencil to help them see places where they need to

correct the transfer onto the final draft, but allow corrections to be made at this point.


Multiple page report


Once again, the basic paragraph structure is expanded and built upon to form the

basis for a multiple page report. Begin with brainstorming the entire report; choosing as

many ideas as there are sections required. Within each section, brainstorm ideas for

five paragraphs which fit the parameters of that section. Note research which will need

to be done to gather facts for the paragraphs. If an outline is required, it can easily be

drawn from the brainstorming lists at this point. Teaching students to write from

outlines has been the thrust of this entire method, although this may be the first time

the student realizes it.


Research one section at a time, and build supporting sentences which begin with

transition words. Add detail sentences to each supporting sentence. This is where the

information discovered in the research phase will be included. When the supporting

and detail sentences are complete, add the topic and concluding sentences for each

paragraph. Topic paragraphs will introduce the section, and concluding paragraphs will

either reflect the writer’s opinion, offer a solution to a problem or suggest an action to

be taken.


It is suggested that each section be error corrected and recopied before moving onto

another section. This is so research and notes are still easily recalled and understood

before a different topic is introduced.


Once all the brainstormed sections have five paragraphs or more, and have been error

corrected, recopied and collated, a topic section for the entire report is written to

create interest and give the reader a reason to want to read the report. This section

might include general remarks on the topic, might pose a burning question which will

be answered by the information to follow, might begin with a common misconception

to be debunked, a surprising fact, quotation or an anecdote about the topic to come. A

concluding section is added to reflect on what the writer has learned, tell what the

reader can do with the information offered in the report, or an analysis of the points

made in the report.


Proofreading and Revising


Once the entire writing project is complete, students need to learn how to proofread

and revise, and how to make a final copy. It is helpful if students read the sections

aloud to themselves, as well as starting with the concluding section and working their

way through the paper by considering each section in reverse order from how they are

written. Underlining or circling words to be spell checked is helpful. A checklist for

essay revisions is included at the end of this article.


Concluding reminder


Virtually every student can master the skill of expository writing. Mastering a method

for completing a task does not mean the task becomes easy. Dyslexic students may

learn to write effectively, however it is likely to always be an arduous task. The effort

involved should not be taken lightly by the teacher.


Five Sentence Paragraph writing worksheet ________________________________


Topic: _____________________________________________________


Brainstorming list:

_______________________________________ ______________________________________

_______________________________________ ______________________________________

_______________________________________ ______________________________________

_______________________________________ ______________________________________

_______________________________________ ______________________________________


Check the three strongest list items. Create the supporting sentences from those items below.

SS _________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

SS _________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

SS _________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________


Create a topic sentence for your paragraph. Topic + main point = topic sentence.


TS _________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________


Create a concluding sentence for your paragraph. Concluding sentence can reflect the writer’s opinion, offer a solution to a problem or suggest an action to be taken.


CS _________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________


Title: Turn your brainstorm list name into a title for your paragraph:

____________________________________________________________________________________


In the margin, number your sentences to decide the order they will be written in when you make your first draft.


Center the title on the first line of a new piece of notebook paper. Copy the sentences below the title, using paragraph form, skipping lines.





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