How would I write an effective topic sentence for a body paragraph in a story such as Just Lather That's All or In the Catbird Seat?How would I write an effective topic sentence for the body of...

How would I write an effective topic sentence for a body paragraph in a story such as Just Lather That's All or In the Catbird Seat?

How would I write an effective topic sentence for the body of a paragraph in a story such as "Just Lather, That's All," or in "The Catbird Seat"?

Expert Answers
marbar57 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In anything you write, the topic sentence is the most important sentence in a paragraph.  And, it's almost always the most difficult sentence in the paragraph to write for most people.  Here's a little trick I teach to my 4th grade students that has really helped them:

1.  Choose a topic they're interested in.  I usually give them a whole list to choose from.  They usually pick something they really like or have experience with. 

2.  Narrow it down to specifics.  Instead of writing about "Dogs" in general, write about a particular breed of dogs.   

3.  Give them 5 minutes to write down everything they know about their chosen subject.  I call it "brain-jamming" and I tell them to just write down whatever comes to their mind.

4.  Sort their list into three categories and give each category a name.  They get to use their classification skills for this exercise. 

5.  Decide which category they want to start writing about first.  This will be their first paragraph.

6.  Start joining the words or phrases in each list into sentences.  Make sure each sentence has a subject and a verb, starts with a capital letter and ends with a period or question mark.  Each paragraph should have 3-5 sentences.

7.  Do this for each paragraph.  They will have three separate paragraphs.

8.  Look at their three paragraphs and  decided if they want to change the order around.  By this time, they should start getting ideas about how they want each paragraph to start, since the topic sentence is basically about what's in each paragraph.

9.  Choose a title for their report or essay.  I always have them work backwards this way.  They come up with better titles that are catchy and grab the reader's attention.

Hope this helps.  Good luck!