Writing Strong Beginnings and Endings
An effective paragraph begins with a clear topic sentence and ends with a strong closing point. These activities will help you practice writing these important parts.
Writing Topic Sentences
The topic sentence tells the reader what the paragraph is about. It names the topic and gives a thought or feeling about it. Most of the time, it is the first sentence of the paragraph.
Sample Topic Sentence
The new indoor skateboard park challenges even the best skateboarders.
- Specific topic: The new indoor skateboard park
- Thought or feeling: Challenges even the best skateboarders
Read topic sentences.
- My brother’s room is the messiest room on the planet.
My brother’s room
Thought or feeling:
Is the messiest room on the planet
- Keeping a well-organized backpack is one of the keys to a good day at school.
Keeping a well-organized backpack
Thought or feeling:
Is one of the keys to a good day at school
Write a topic sentence.
The first thing you see when you walk into the observatory is a giant telescope. To get to the telescope, you need to climb stairs to a wooden platform. By standing on the platform, you can stretch your head high enough to look through the lens. What you see is amazing—Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the Orion Nebula. Not only do you see stars and planets but other galaxies. A trip to the observatory helps you see the universe!
(Answers will vary.) Going to an observatory is like a field trip to outer space.
Writing Ending Sentences
An effective ending sentence sums up what you have said or provides the reader with a strong thought or feeling.
Sample Ending Sentence
That’s why the skate park draws riders from around town and the state.
- Specific topic: The skate park
- Final thought or feeling: Draws riders from around town and the state
Write ending sentences.
Our new playground equipment is the best I’ve ever seen. The tire swings are huge, and you can sit or stand on them, which makes them even cooler. The climbing walls are all different sizes, so you can choose the one that’s right for you. And the landing area is soft and bouncy, so when you fall, it’s part of the fun. But the best part of all is the lookout tower. It’s three stories high and is connected by a whole bunch of ladders and tubes.
(Answers will vary.) All these features make the playground a fun place to be.
The school cafeteria is my favorite place in our school. That’s partly because I love the food they serve there, but that’s just one thing. I also like it because we can hang out and talk about all kinds of things, and no one tells us to be quiet. We can find out what time our next soccer practice is and what everyone is going to be doing after school. Sometimes, we even talk about school things, like what we need to do to finish our group projects.
(Answers will vary.) I can't wait for my next lunch in the school cafeteria.
The ending sentence should do more than simply parrot the topic sentence. It should sum up the ideas in a thoughtful way. Encourage students to start strong and finish even stronger.