Learning about paragraph structure is the first step to effectively reading or writing nonfiction text. When kids analyze a text to locate the topic sentence, they will find the main idea. As they consider which sentences directly reinforce the topic sentence and which simply elaborate, they’ll uncover supporting details.
• Lesson plans
• PowerPoint presentation
• 3 texts to analyze (each featuring a fairy tale author)
• Five-paragraph text (with and without hamburger organizer)
• Hamburger graphic
Day 1 - Introduce informational text structure with the PowerPoint presentation. It will use a hamburger analogy to explain paragraph format.
Day 2 - Review the hamburger analogy. Ask students to practice finding the topic sentence, three supporting detail sentences, and the conclusion in “Charles Perrault.”
Day 3 - Discuss the previous day’s assignment, “Charles Perrault.” Ask students to practice finding the topic sentence, three supporting detail sentences, and the conclusion in “Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.”
Day 4 - Discuss the previous day’s assignment, “Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.” Ask students to practice finding the topic sentence, three supporting detail sentences, and the conclusion in “Hans Christian Andersen.” You may use this as an assessment piece, if you wish.
Day 5 - Acknowledge that most informational texts are more than one paragraph. Explain how the structure generally stays the same:
• The first paragraph (top bun) is the introductory paragraph, or introduction. It includes the main idea, which is stated in a thesis statement. It also includes introductory material, which may be supporting details or information needed to better understand the text.
• The middle paragraphs hold the evidence. Each paragraph (or set of paragraphs) presents a supporting detail. This is the “meat” of the paragraph.
• The final paragraph (bottom bun) repeats the thesis statement, or main idea, in different words and wraps up the essay by restating the supporting details or providing concluding remarks.
Read the five-paragraph essay, “Four Famous Fairy Tale Authors.” Discuss the purpose of each paragraph and locate the thesis statement. Consider the main idea and discuss how it can be found in the first and last paragraphs.
This resource is part of Fourth Grade English Language Arts Curriculum Unit 1 – Fairy Tales. (See bundle below.) Click here
to preview the lesson plans.