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Teacher Tips and Answers

Reading a Phase Autobiography

Before writing about an important phase in your life, you should see how another writer wrote about his life. As you read the paragraph and full phase autobiography below, think about how the writer put ideas together and how you might use some of the same strategies in your own writing.

Reading an Autobiographical Paragraph

An autobiographical paragraph has three main parts. The topic sentence states the topic and focus of the story. The body sentences explain the main actions of the story. The ending sentence shares a lesson learned.

Listen to "Summer of Gardening"

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Sample Paragraph

Summer of Gardening

Topic Sentence When I was 12, I spent a summer tending a garden, and it changed me for the better. My stepmother had seen enough of me playing video games during my free time, so she volunteered me to help build a community garden near our apartment. "Not a chance," I protested, but it was no use. My first day on the job, I met Mrs. Walters, the tiny old woman who organized the garden. "Get your gloves on, and get to work," she commanded me and the other volunteers. Body Sentences The lot where we were to build the garden was a mess. It took a week to clear out all the old tires, fast-food wrappers, empty bottles, and other trash. Once that was done, we dug plots for the garden. Each night I came home with an achy back and blistered hands, but the garden started to take shape. We eventually dug 15 plots. Soon, more volunteers showed up, and we built fences, tilled soil, and laid seed. By the end of summer, we had one heck of a garden. I felt proud each time a new tomato, cucumber, pepper, or carrot sprouted from our garden. Ending Sentences That summer taught me to value fresh air, fresh food, and hard work.

Respond to the paragraph.

Answer these questions about the paragraph. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

  1. What lessons did the writer learn from the experience? What details in the body sentences reflect these lessons?

    The writer learned to value fresh air, fresh food, and hard work. Instead of playing video games, the writer had to spend time outside building the garden. The hard work was reflected in details like "each night I came home with an achy back and blistered hands." The second to last line reflects the writer's pride in fresh food. The writer states, "I felt proud each time a new tomato, cucumber, pepper, or carrot sprouted from our garden."  

  2. What details did you find most interesting in the story? Name at least three.

    (Answers will vary.)

This lesson is a part of the Writing Phase Autobiographies unit.

Click the title to view more information about this unit and a full list of lessons that are included.

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