Let’s Stop Teaching the “Hamburger Paragraph”

Screen Shot 2016-11-15 at 9.22.35 AMThe traditional “hamburger paragraph” – a topic sentence, supporting details and a wrap-up sentence – might work fine for a self-contained piece of writing, but it simply doesn’t exist in multi-paragraph passages. In truth, most paragraphs actually don’t even have topic sentences –  and those that do start with a topic sentence never repeat the main idea at the end of the paragraph.

That said, topic sentences are valuable supports for struggling (and all) readers.  They reveal the main idea of the paragraph and support prediction and self-monitoring.  But many of our students need explicit instruction and guided practice in finding and making use of topic sentences. Check out hip-books.com/topic-sentences for teaching ideas and a practice passage.

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