Outlines

Previewing

Thesis statement: the sentence where we write about the main ideas of a piece of writing

Structure of an essay (five paragraph essay):

    1. Introductory Paragraph
      1. attention grabber (create interest/Why is the essay imporant?)
      2. thesis statement (for the whole essay)
      3. 3-5 sentences
    2. Body Paragraph x3
      1. each point gets a body paragraph
      2. each body paragraph contains:
      3. introductory sentence (thesis sentence)
      4. three points
    3. Conclusion
      1. restate the thesis
      2. Why did the reader read this?/Why is the reading important?
      3. Give some sort of opinion or recommendation.

Teaching Idea:

Have your students find an article on www.breakingnewsenglish.com, or depending on their level you can use news written for native English speakers or something you have summarized yourself. They should read the article, look up any words they don’t understand and get a basic understanding of the general idea of the article. Have them identify the thesis statement and then build an outline based on the text. They can then write a new thesis statement based on their outline. Explain to them that since these articles have been summarized their thesis statements may be unusually short or less complete than normal. They should try to improve on the sentence they found in the text.

Here is an example from www.breakingnewsenglish.com. You can find the original article here.

The rapper Jay Z has been rewarded for his songwriting. He is the first rapper to enter the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The Hall aims to, “preserve, honor and celebrate the legacy of the great songwriters whose work has enriched the world’s culture”. Jay Z grew up in New York. He got into hip-hop and became one of the best-selling artists of all time. He has sold over 100 million albums. He is also a businessman. He owns a sports bar and a music streaming service.

Barack Obama talked about Jay Z. He said: “I am a fan and I’ve been listening to Jay Z since I was…young. I’m pretty sure I’m…the only president to listen to Jay Z’s music in the [White House].” He called Jay Z a “true American original” and the “greatest rapper of all time”. Jay Z’s music publisher accepted the award for him. It said: “[Jay Z] would tell up-and-coming hip-hop artists today that there can be no mistake…that you are indeed songwriters.”

Topic sentence: The rapper Jay Z has been rewarded for his songwriting.

    1. The Award
      1. Songwriters Hall of Fame
      2. Preserves honor and celebrates great songwriters
      3. Those who made world culture better
    2. The Person
      1. Jay Z
        1. Grew up in New York
        2. Hip-hop artist
      2. Best-seller
        1. Over 100 million albums
      3. Businessman
        1. Sports bar
        2. Music streaming service
      4. Obama is a fan.
        1. “I am a fan and I’ve been listening to Jay Z since I was…young. I’m pretty sure I’m…the only president to listen to Jay Z’s music in the [White House].”
        2. “true American original”
        3. “greatest rapper of all time”
    3. Concluding comment: “[Jay Z] would tell up-and-coming hip-hop artists today that there can be no mistake…that you are indeed songwriters.”
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