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Teaching Children About Paragraphs Gone Bad! November 20, 2009

Two Teacher License

Paragraphs have unity and coherence. A paragraph has a single minded focus. There must be no information in the paragraph which does not serve that purpose. We call these “good paragraphs.” The best of the best are known as “perfect paragraphs.”

But not all paragraphs are good… let alone perfect. In fact, it doesn’t take much to make a seemingly good paragraph go bad. I have rounded up two paragraphs that I am sad to say have gone bad. One we can salvage… the other is just plain bad. That second one has no future. We will simply have to scratch it and start over.

This Paragraph Can Be Saved

If you have even one detail that is not about the topic sentence, then it IS NOT perfect. Notice how “Detail B” is out of control off doing his own thing. “Detail B” is not talking about the “topic sentence.”  The solution with this paragraph is to edit or revise.

Detail B has gone bad!

Over the weekend my family and I went to the park. I played on the swings with my little sister until she was all tuckered out.  I hope next weekend I can see the new “Space World” movie.  The best part of the park was the wonderful picnic my mom packed. Going to the park with my family is always a lot of fun!


Warning! Danger! This is a Bad, Bad Paragraph

This is a collection of disconnected sentences. Some may claim that it is a paragraph… but it is not. It tries to be one… but it can’t. It’s an imposter…. a fake. There is no main idea to this paragraph. This will be difficult for others to read. It’s sad to see good sentences turn so bad… start over.

So sad...


Over the weekend my family and I went to the park. It was fun. I want to see the new “Space World” movie. My birthday is next week. I hope one day my parents let me have a dog. Well, that’s all I have to say.

Be sure to read the next post which is “Biggest Teacher Mistakes in Teaching Paragraphs.” Hint: Don’t spend too long teaching paragraphs!

(“Pattern Based Writing: Quick and Easy Essay” spends just the right amount of time on paragraphs before making the jump to complete essays!)

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