Empowering Writers

The Expository Pillar

Organization – Expository writing, by its very nature, requires careful organization. In order to deliver information in a way in which the reader can easily grasp, information must be arranged and presented in a logical, sequential manner, with like details grouped together. Often times, students, when writing about a topic, simply list details in random order, as they come to mind. This abstract random collection of facts does not lend itself to solid elaboration on the part of the author, or clear comprehension on the part of the reader. So how can we best organize exposition? The basic organizational plan for an expository report, essay, or article, is as follows:

Introduction Paragraph – The first paragraph in which the author grabs the reader’s attention (lead) and tells the reader what the entire piece will be about (topic sentence).

Body of the Piece – A number of paragraphs, each with a broad yet distinct main idea sentence, which explains what the paragraph is about, followed by a variety of supporting details. (Often times teachers require three paragraphs in the body of the piece, however, two well-developed paragraphs, or 4, 5, or 6, paragraphs work equally as well – the key is for the author to write as many paragraphs as needed to fully explore the topic. Requiring three paragraphs can result in a formulaic, one size fits all approach that limits the author.)

Conclusion Paragraph – The final paragraph which creatively reiterates the  main ideas and restates the thesis or topic sentence in a general way. This may be accomplished in a straightforward, although not literal repetition, or it may be implied.

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