by Caroline Trull High School English teacher in North Carolina
Students are taught that a closing paragraph should accomplish three things:
- Restate an essay’s thesis
- Summarize main points
- Provide a finished feel
In response to this information, young writers often exhibit confusion. “Aren’t I repeating myself if I copy the same content from the first paragraph? And what’s a finished feel?”
Although well intended, essay writing practice is often unfocused, instead of a targeted way of addressing problems with conclusions. And while instructors commonly suggest that novice authors read more mentor texts, this is not a direct route to improving writing, much less constructing conclusions. So what’s a more time- and energy-efficient way to give students confidence about writing conclusions?