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"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales
painting by Katie Bergenholtz

The Multi-Paragraph Report


The beginning research multi-paragraph report is often called the 5-paragraph essay or report because it has an introductory paragraph, three paragraphs covering three parts of the essay and then a concluding paragraph. It is a formula which doesn't necessarily work for advanced papers as not all subjects have three divisions, but it good for beginning writer. So, for this first paper, have your student pick a topic he really likes that can be divided into three parts. Make sure it is a topic if of his own choice.

Now, take a trip to the library and have your student check out one few books from the library on the topic of choice. Have him look through the books he has checked out to find the one that is the most suitable.  
Have your student read the book and write an outline, using the chapter titles as the main headings. Look at what he has written together and have a discussion about what he has learned from his studies and what direction he wants to take with his report. Can the report be organized around the three topics he had originally thought of? 

Now, have your student complete additional research. Have your student use his original resource, and also three or four internet sites and additional books as needed and find quotes that would work in his report. On index cards, have your student write each quote and at the end, cite, for books,  the name of the book, author, date of publication, publisher and date of publication. For for each internet site, cite name of article, name of website, author or organization  and web address. 

In addition to the quotes, have your student summarize chapters or sections from the books and websites in order to provide the necessary information for the report. Make sure this is hand written and have your student cite the book or website he used for the summary to avoid plagerism.

Now he can organize the index cards in piles according to the topic divisions. Some students can work from the piles to organize their paper, but others will need to use a graphic organizer to keep the ideas in order. And still other students will need to turn that graphic organizer into a final outline.

Before he begins writing, however have him create a works cited page, listing all the materials he has used to create his outline. Using the citation format he used on the index cards, he needs to cite all of the materials he used alphabetized by author’s last name or website name write a reference list. 

Using whatever organizational tools the student needs, now it is time for him to start writing the paper. He should begin with writing the introduction paragraph for the paper. Since he has had practice writing paragraphs, he should be able to do this, but you may want to remind him or guide him to start with a sentence that introduces the topic of the paper, but also grabs the readers' attention. He then could state why he is studying the subject or what the paper will cover. He can end the paragraph with a concluding sentence. Anytime he refers to any of the materials he used in his research,  whether it be a direct quotation, a paraphrase or a summary, he needs to follow it by a number which will match up to the works cited page once he has finished writing the paper.

Now following the organization of the piles of index cards, the graphic organizer or the outline, have your student write at least one paragraph but no more than one page on each of the three topics of his report. 

Now, it is time for your student to write a conclusion paragraph. If your student has difficulty writing this paragraph, you can help him through it by telling him to write a sentence that states what the paper discussed (referring to the topics mentioned in the introductory paragraph.) Next, tell him to write a few sentences stating his opinions or a call to action. 


Print out a copy of the paper, and read it over together. Circle spelling or grammar errors, but do not be too discouraging if there are many errors. Note the most important ones, and save the other errors to address in future papers. There is time to correct mistakes. Make sure there are citations at the end of each paragraph. 

Have him make changes and print a final draft.


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2 comments:

  1. Informational writing is SO important. I can only hope that it's taught properly in schools. We were worried about "writing hygiene" after our grade skip, but it looks like A is happy to rise to a challenge, and writing is one of her favorite subjects...

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  2. "Paraphrases do not change the meaning of the information
    Paraphrases do change the structure of the sentences used
    Paraphrases do change the words used"

    I think that everyone who does paraphrasing should remember this. And also remember to cite resources they used even when they paraphrase them.

    Thank you. Your post was very useful!

    Sam from Paraphrase Sentence Online

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