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How to Write an Expository Essay for Grade Three

by Christi O'Donnell, studioD

Third grade is often the year when students first begin to experiment with structured writing, such as the expository essay. Writing an expository essay in third grade is a lot like making a sandwich. Just as a good sandwich has three parts -- the top bun, fillings and bottom bun -- a good expository essay also has three parts: the introduction, details and conclusion.

Choose a Topic

Many children choose to write expository essays about animals.

You write an expository essay to tell or teach the reader about a topic. Start by choosing a topic that you think is interesting and that you already know a lot about. You might choose to write about an animal you like, a place you have visited or a person whom you have read about. If you have too many ideas, make a list and then close your eyes and pick.

Do Some Research

Use good research to bolster your topic.

Research is when you look for more information on a topic. Start your research by choosing and reading a book about your topic. Pick a book that is nonfiction, as it will have factual information that you can use in your essay. As you read, take notes. Use a notebook to copy down the facts that you think are most important and to write down questions that you have. You will refer to these notes as you write your essay.

Write the Introduction

The beginning of your expository essay is your introduction -- where you capture the reader's attention and tell her what the main idea of the essay is going to be. Make the introduction as interesting as possible so that the reader wants to keep reading. A good way to start an introduction is with a question or with an amazing fact. For example: "Did you know that great white sharks can eat up to 11 tons of food a year? Sharks are amazing and important fish."

Add Some Details

Once you have hooked the reader's attention, tell him more about your topic. Details are individual facts that provide more information about a topic. The best details give sensory information. That means that they give more information that helps your reader imagine how things feel, smell, sound, taste or look. Try to include at least three details in your expository essay. For example: "Sharks might look smooth when they are in the water, but their skin is actually very rough. Sharks are often called silent hunters, because the only sounds they make are crunching sounds -- after they've caught their prey."

Write a Conclusion

The final part of your expository essay is the conclusion where you return to the main idea of your essay and restate it in different words. The conclusion helps tie the whole essay together and reminds the reader of the most important points. Conclusions often start with phrases like "in conclusion," "as you can see," "finally" or "in the end."

Proofread Your Work

Turn in work that you're proud to put your name on.

If you wrote your essay on paper, reread it and look for spelling, punctuation and capital letter mistakes. If you find any, fix them. If you wrote your essay on the computer, print out a copy and read it on paper, looking for the same kinds of mistakes. Before you hand in your work, check that your name is on the paper. You want to get credit for the hard work you did.

About the Author

A lifetime resident of New York, Christi O'Donnell has been writing about education since 2003. O'Donnell is a dual-certified educator with experience writing curriculum and teaching grades preK through 12. She holds a Bachelors Degree from Sarah Lawrence College and a Masters Degree in education from Mercy College.

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