Using Gary Paulsen’s adventure novel Hatchet as a basis, I have written a five-paragraph argument letter from Brian’s friend Terry to the Canadian government, asking them to continue the search for Brian. All details are pulled from the novel. This gives the students an opportunity to learn the format of a five-paragraph essay (letter) without the struggle of content on top—they already know the Hatchet story really well. I have my students do this essay as a post-reading assignment. BONUS: I attached a five-paragraph composition outline at the end.
HINT: If your students are not advanced and would not be able to endure this assignment, they could write one body paragraph or write a three-paragraph letter—the introduction, one body paragraph, and the conclusion.
HINT: If you do not want to undertake this writing assignment, students can benefit from deconstructing the letter and creating a Harvard outline so that they can see the organization and support of the thesis.
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Carolann Reznick~Literacy Rigor
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