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Teacher Tips and Answers

Understanding Explanatory Paragraphs

Your main purpose in an explanatory paragraph is to give information about a subject. You may give directions, present ideas, or explain how to do something. An explanatory paragraph uses transitions such as first, then, after, and finally.

Read an explanatory paragraph.

Read the following paragraph. Note how the first sentence introduces the topic, the body sentences include details with time transitions, and the ending sentence wraps up the explanation.

Listen to "Building Our Tree House"

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Topic Sentence Last summer, my friends and I built a tree house in our back yard. Our first step was to agree on a design for the tree house. Then we made a list of materials we needed and located a store that sold building supplies. We took our list and the money we had saved and went shopping. Body SentencesWe loaded everything into my dad’s van and headed back. The first thing we had to do was build a frame for the floor of the house. (My mom helped with that.) Then we used a rope to raise all the wood up into the tree. TransitionsAfterward, we nailed the floorboards to the frame, and we soon had a floor. After that, we added walls and a roof. It took us all afternoon, but it was worth it. Ending Sentence We now had a great place to hang out for the rest of the summer.

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