Writing Information Essays
Sometimes, a single sentence can explain all that you have to say. Other times, you need a group of sentences—a paragraph. When you have even more to say, you need a group of paragraphs—an information essay. This chapter will show you how to build paragraphs into an essay that explains a lot of about a single topic.
One way to gather information about a topic is to conduct a poll. You can ask your classmates questions and get their answers. Best of all, you can write an essay that lets your friends know what you found out!
Writing an Information Essay
Decide on a Topic 🟪 List favorite things you could ask about in a poll. (You can use this poll topic sheet.) Then circle the topic you like best. Cyrus listed the following ideas before choosing one.
Create a Poll 🟪 Write two questions that you would like to ask classmates about your topic. Here are the questions Cyrus asked:
Ask classmates in person or on paper and compile their answers. Compile means “collect information in one place.”
Create a Collection Sheet 🟪 Gather your classmates’ responses on a single sheet of paper. ( You can use this collection sheet. Follow these steps:
🟪 Use a big piece of paper so that you have plenty of room to gather answers.
🟪 Record answers to your poll questions.
🟪 Include special responses so that you can write about them in your essay.
Who: 24 third graders from Mrs. Dernay’s class
Where: Cooper Elementary School
1. What type of pet do you like best: cats, dogs, or birds?
2. Why do you like this type of best?
1. Cats: lllll lll (8 votes)
They are soft and cuddly.
Cats have the best videos.
They don’t mess up your yard.
2. Dogs: lllll llll (9 votes)
Dogs are happy to see you.
They can learn tricks.
Dogs protect you from bad guys.
3. Birds: lllll ll (7 votes)
Birds can learn to talk.
They fly around your house.
They make you feel like a pirate.
Writing a Draft
Write the Beginning 🟪 Your first paragraph should grab your readers’ attention and tell what your essay is about. Here are some starting strategies:
🟪 Ask a question.
What pet is best? Third-graders speak up!
🟪 Share a surprising statistic.
A whopping 84.9 million American houses have a pet. That’s 67 percent. But which is best?
🟪 End the paragraph with a sentence that shares the main finding from your poll. This sentence tells what the essay will be about.
One third of Mrs. Dernay’s 3rd graders love dogs best, followed closely by cats and birds.
Write the Middle 🟪 Create a different middle paragraph to explain each part of your poll. For example, Cyrus wrote a paragraph about the poll, one about dogs, one about cats, and finally one about birds. You can see what he wrote on page 125.
Write the Ending 🟪 In your last paragraph, sum up your poll and give readers a final important thought.
So, dogs rule our hearts, but cats had almost as many votes, and birds were close behind. Whether you like waggy tails or fluffy ones or ones full of feathers, your favorite pet is one that loves you. I wonder if we're their favorites, too!
Read and Review 🟪 Revising lets you make improvements in your first draft. Add, cut, and rework until you can answer yes to each question below. (You can use this revising checklist.) Also get a classmate’s opinion. Make your essay the best it can be!
🟪 Does your beginning get readers’ attention?
🟪 Does your beginning give the focus of your essay?
🟪 Does each middle paragraph cover an important idea from your poll?
🟪 Do you fully explain the results of your poll?
🟪 Does the ending sum up your poll?
🟪 Does the ending give readers a final thought?
Editing & Proofreading
Check for Errors 🟪 Check the facts and figures in your essay. Fix any errors in spelling. Make sure all of your sentences are complete, starting with a capital letter and ending with the correct punctuation mark.
Plan Your Final Copy 🟪 Give your essay a title. Then create a neat final copy to share.
Sample Information Essay
Who’s a Good Boy (or Girl)?
by Cyrus Singh
Beginning A whopping 84.9 million American houses have a pet. That’s 67 percent. But which is best? A recent poll of 3rd graders in Mrs. Dernay’s class chose dogs first followed by cats and birds.
Middle All 24 of our 3rd graders answered two poll questions: What type of pet do you like best: dogs, cats, or birds? Why do you this type best?
Dogs got the most votes, with 9. That’s a third of the class! Dog lovers say dogs are happy to see you and they can learn to do tricks. Best of all, dogs can scare away bad guys!
Cats came in a close second with 8 votes. People love cats for their fluffiness. Cats also have the best videos. One person said cats are best because they use a litter box instead of messing up your yard.
Birds got 7 votes. People who love birds like the fact that they can learn to say things like “Pretty bird” and “Nevermore.” They also like seeing birds fly all over the house. One bird lover says he feels like a pirate with a bird on his head.
Ending So, dogs rule our hearts, but cats had almost as many votes, and birds were close behind. Whether you like waggy tails or fluffy ones or ones full of feathers, your favorite pet is one that loves you. I wonder if we're their favorites, too!