Summer Reading Assignment

The Power Paragraph
Buchholtz / Sidor

Despite the risk of becoming too prescriptive with our writing instruction, we have found that the following construction is helpful in conveying one’s ideas in a coherent and convincing manner.

Please keep this handout in your binder for quick reference.

The format for a power paragraph is as follows:

Sentence 1: Introduction to topic/hook.
Clearly state the topic (a strong statement of your answer to the prompt)

Sentence 2: Clarifying statement.
Provides details and qualifying or clarifying information and possibly evidence in support of the topic sentence.

Sentence 3: Evidence.
Quotation, paraphrase, anecdote, or summary of evidence.

Sentence 4: Wrap-up.
Explain how the evidence adds meaning and clarity to your response.

Example: Why do Mrs. Buchholtz and Mrs. Sidor ask you to keep a reading journal?

High school students struggle when reading nonfiction texts. While they may be able to understand the plot of an essay or an article, they often are unable to analyze and synthesize the arguments inherent in such works. Jim Burke, a nationally recognized reading expert, suggests that “graphic organizers such as t-charts and learning logs are powerful tools for developing sophisticated readers” (324). Buchholtz and Sidor hope that your Courage of their Convictions reading journal will provide you with just such a tool.