This information needs to be true and verifiable, but it doesn’t need to be totally new to your reader. It could simply be a pertinent fact or statistic that illustrates the point you wish to make. If you use a piece of startling information, follow it with a sentence or two of elaboration.
The World Health Organization has announced that for the first time in one hundred years, the world’s current generation of children may not outlive its parents due to obesity. The National Center for Health Statistics says that sixteen percent of children and adolescents (ages 6-19) in America are now overweight, an increase of 45% in the last two decades. Many medical professionals are calling for preventative measures rather than treatments, saying that it is less expensive and more effective to prevent obesity than it is to treat it. It seems clear, then, that junk food should not be sold in the school cafeteria, because not only does it cause weight problems, it isn’t good for the teeth, and it is a waste of money.
An anecdote is a story that illustrates a point. Be sure that your anecdote is short, to the point, and relevant to your topic. This can be a very effective opener to your essay, but use it carefully.
Recently, while doing some volunteer work at a local school, I was asked to organize an afternoon of games and competitions for students in grades 5-7. I decided to have a mixture of games to challenge both the intellect and the body, so I arranged rounds of chess, brain teasers, sprint races and team relays. I was shocked to see that while the brain games seemed to pose no problem for the kids, many struggled to even complete the physical activities I had set out for them. I noticed that a large number of the students were out of shape, overweight and too slow to offer any challenge to the task. While I know that the reasons for these unhealthy children are many and varied, I believe that their diet is a major contributing factor. School cafeterias should not sell junk food to students, because it causes weight problems, is bad for the teeth, and wastes money.
A Broad Statement:
Start with a broad statement about your topic, and then gradually work towards your thesis statement. In a literary essay, you could use a broad statement that relates to a text you are discussing.
These days, weight loss is a major preoccupation of many Americans. People seem obsessed with books like The South Beach Diet, and billboards, T.V. and radio are dominated with advertisements promising a new, thinner you. Even children seem to be concerned with staying thin, heading off to weight loss camps for their summer vacations. Unfortunately, schools seem to be working against both parents and children by selling poor quality foods in their cafeteria. Junk food should not be sold in school cafeterias because it causes weight problems, is bad for the teeth, and is a waste of money.
A pertinent or appropriate quotation can spark interest in your topic. However, you may have difficulty finding a quotation that works with your topic. In a literary essay, you may be able to find a quotation in the text you are discussing. Follow a quotation with a sentence or two of elaboration.
“If we're not willing to settle for junk living, we certainly shouldn't settle for junk food” states Sally Edwards, author and Ironman Triathlete. If we really stop and think about it, selling junk food at schools encourages students to eat unhealthy foods. Given all the furor over unhealthy, overweight kids, it doesn’t make sense to encourage unhealthy eating habits in schools. Junk food should not be sold in school cafeterias because it causes weight problems, is bad for the teeth, and is a waste of money.
You may then include more information, such as some facts, to continue to engage your reader.
Finally, you should end your introductory paragraph with your thesis statement (as in the example essay).
Writing body paragraphs Each main idea that you presented in your plan of development will become one of the body paragraphs. Each body paragraph will have the same basic structure.
Start by restating the reason in sentence form (topic sentence).
Schools should not sell junk food in their cafeterias because it causes weight problems.
Provide specific examples to illustrate and clarify your point.
Schools should not sell junk food in their cafeterias because it causes weight problems. Junk food is defined as food that is high in calories and fat while low in nutritional value. This would include things like French fries, doughnuts, cakes, cookies, white breads, croissants, candy, soda pop, etc. While it is acceptable to eat these foods occasionally, they should not be eaten on a daily basis, as they provide a lot of calorie intake without much nutrition, which is a formula for uncontrollable weight gain. Unfortunately, these foods tend to be the ones widely available in school cafeterias, mainly because they are easy to prepare and store and are popular with kids. They also tend to be inexpensive. Given a choice between broccoli and French fries, kids will inevitably choose the fries. Since they are, however, foods that contribute to weight gain and obesity, they should not be readily available to kids who are looking for a quick food fix on a daily basis.
Be sure to use a transition from paragraph to paragraph. For example,
Another reason that junk food should not be sold in school cafeterias is that it is very damaging to the teeth… Some common transitional words and phrases are:
In addition furthermore moreover
Consequently as a result not only
4. Organize your supporting paragraphs. There are two main ways to do this: 1.) emphatic order: Choose the supporting paragraph you think provides the strongest evidence to support your opinion. You can place it last, and build up to the strongest argument with your weaker paragraphs, or you can place it first, and go on from there.
2.) time order: Depending on the topic and the angle you’re taking, you can organize the supporting paragraphs according to the order in which the evidence occurs. For example, if you are writing about a novel, you could use evidence from the beginning of the novel in the first supporting paragraph, evidence from the middle of the novel in the second, and evidence from the end of the novel in the third. If you are writing about a personal experience, you could put the first events in the first body paragraph, what happens next in the second, etc.
-link thoughts together
-used to connect paragraphs
-allows writing to flow smoothly
Use either at the end of a paragraph or the beginning of the next paragraph!
Writing a Concluding Paragraph Write your thesis below. Remember, your thesis contains three parts: your topic, your opinion on this topic, AND your 3 sub-topics that support your opinion of your topic.
The conclusion sums up your report in 3-5 sentences. When writing a conclusion, you start with a specific focus – your thesis. Using your thesis, restate it (your key point and your sub topics) in different words below. Use a thesaurus to help you choose different words.
Next, you support your thesis with the following:
Finish telling the story (anecdote) from your introduction, and/or;
Make a prediction, based on facts/statistics
Use a new quotation that supports your thesis
Give an opinion (do NOT use “I” statements, such as “I think llamas are remarkable creatures”. Simply state “Llamas are remarkable creatures”).
Make an insightful comment, or ask a thought-provoking question to your audience.
Choose one or two of the above strategies and write about your topic using the strategy/strategies below:
4. Put #2 and #3 together and you have a conclusion to your essay! Read it for clarity, sense, and flow. Exchange with a classmate and read each other’s conclusion. Does it make sense? If this was ALL you read of their essay, would you know what it was about?