Writing A Thesis Statement

Writing a thesis statement requires writing a sentence that introduces to the reader what the paper is going to cover. It is commonly the final sentence in the introductory paragraph of an essay, composition, or research paper.

When a person writes a formal paper, it is because she has something important to say about it; therefore, the writer is required to state three elements about her topic.

Here is an example of one:  

The composition of a photograph, such as this example, requires three essential elements: subject, color, and framing. 

Now, I don't know precisely what is required of a good photograph, but that's not the point.

I've stated my thesis above, and I'm going to write my essay to try to prove my thesis statement. 

Photo taken by Diana Boles

Begin With The End In Mind

Parents, you will save yourself and your child much strife if when your child begins to read a book, you discuss the possible writing topics beforehand.

If your child is going to write a report about her science fair project, discuss the possible outcomes that she is going to learn from it.

If your child is going to write a letter to Santa, discuss the items that she wants (limit it to three items).  

All of these actions will help ensure her success in writing a thesis statement.  Why? 

Creating Structure

The basic structure of an essay is five paragraphs. The first paragraph is the introduction with the thesis statement at the end of that paragraph.

The second paragraph will develop ideas of the first item of the thesis. In the example thesis above, she will elaborate on the importance of a good subject.

In the third paragraph, she will develop her ideas about the second item of the thesis statement, the color. 

The fourth paragraph will expound on the importance of framing. 

The fifth paragraph concludes the essay with a strong ending  that includes rephrasing or restating the thesis statement. 

The Quest For Three Supporting Elements

When you begin working with your child and her writing, you will be encouraging her to think about what she is learning, is reading, and thinking about her educational activities.

This is a slow process, so be patient.

In the public schools, children have traditionally only chosen two elements for writing a thesis statement in the 7th and 8th grades.

For younger children, if they come up with one good idea that they can support with two or three examples, that is an excellent start. 

However, by the time she begins high school, she will need to develop three reasons when writing a thesis statement. This is the standard for all papers in high school, as well as college. 

Pushing the Bar

Over time your child will think about her reading (and the characters) in more complex ways. As a result, her thesis statements will become more in depth like this one: 

Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of The Scarlet Letter, is one of the greatest works of American literature because of its portrayal of the effects of sin on the human heart: the one bent on seeking revenge like Roger Chillingworth's, the unrepentant sinner, Arthur Dimmesdale, and the humbled sinner, Hester Prynne. 

Writing a thesis statement is not the only aspect of writing a solid essay, but it is the binding influence that brings focus to student's essay and delivers her ideas and beliefs to her audience. 

You can read more about writing across the curriculum for other grade levels. 

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