Illustration paragraph 1 example replaces 3 bits of evidence
The standard expository paragraph
template calls for a topic sentence
to be supported with three pieces of evidence. However,
experienced writers often use only one piece of evidence
instead of several. Their reason for the change may be that:
The otherevidence is weak.
The other evidence has little appeal to the
The topic requires a detailed explanation
best drawn from a singlesource.
In situations such as these, a writer may choose to write what
is often called an example or illustration paragraph.
Definition of terms
Example or illustration is a large category that could include
types of paragraphs. Generally, however, the term illustration
or example paragraph is used to describe a body paragraph that
is all about a single example and which is
The illustration is distinguished from an ordinary body paragraph
by the fact that all the evidence is from the same source
on the same topic.
Evidence is information that comes from an identifiable
source. It can be fact or opinion. A source is
the person or group of people who supply evidence.
Uses of illustrations
The illustrative material might well be the writer's own observations
on a topic. The writer might present them in first person,
with some attribution such as
I saw an example of this ........
A similar experience happened to me ......
A friend told me about.......
The illustration may also consist of material from a writer other
than the author and presented in third person.
This type of illustration is a staple of literary
analysis. A writer might say something like this:
The premier example of an Austen heroine with a sensible regard
for the financial side of marriage is Eliza Bennett.
The writer would flesh out his or her illustration paragraph
with specific facts showing Eliza's financial awareness. The illustration
would be the writer's interpretation of what Austen said.
Illustrate within an essay
Asking students to write an illustration by itself doesn't make
sense. The illustration should be one of several paragraphs in
the body of an essay or other multi-paragraph work. The illustration
needs to be an example of ideas previously discussed.
Here's a authentic English class writing prompt that calls for
a paragraph of illustration:
A fairy tale is a type of writing whose
conventions mark it as distinct from other types of fiction.
Identify and discuss two or three characteristics
of a fairy tale that would distinguish it from other types of
Include in your essay an illustration
paragraph showing how all the characteristics you discussed
are combined in a single fairy tale.
Embedding a illustration paragraph or other specific paragraph
requirement in a writing prompt is a simple way to encourage paragraph
Be explicit; be a model
Hints and helps that are useful for good students are not enough for struggling
students or those with learning difficulties. Students who struggle with writing
need explicit directions and live models of how to write.
Creative writing not needed
Our kids most likely will never have to have creative writing skills, but they will
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