How to teach your child to write a paragraph, using the “hamburger paragraphs” method. This is a free lesson plan for your homeschool family. Also included in this post is a free printable graphic organizer for hamburger paragraphs.

Hamburger Paragraphs: How to Teach your Child to Write a Paragraph

One of the most refreshing things about spending time with my children is the way they jump, actively, from topic to topic. They seem to find endless connections between subjects. In writing, they often find it difficult to work out where their thoughts came from and where they are going. We must realize that children don’t think in straight lines. It’s easy to see why they have a problem organizing their thoughts and writing them down in paragraphs.

Hamburger Paragraphs: How to Teach your Child to Write a Paragraph

Teaching children to write in paragraphs can be a challenge. However, there is a foolproof method for both younger and older children. Teach kids that the process is a bit like a recipe – adding each ingredient bit by bit until they get the finished product. Using this image, they will then be able to develop any idea into a paragraph. Start by asking them what a paragraph looks like in a book they have read. Look at it and analyze it together.

Once you have done that, then teach your children the thumb method for indentation. Remind them that when they write a paragraph they have to place their thumb on the paper to indent it.

Then introduce this technique: hamburger paragraphs. It involves breaking the writing of a paragraph into 3 steps. First, the point you are trying to address, then, the explanation, and finally, the concluding sentence or comment.

Explain the technique like making a burger – the idea is the top bun, the meat and fixings go in the middle and the bottom of the bun finishes it off!

The Hamburger Paragraphs Graphic Organizer

Let’s have a look at the elements in paragraph writing (like making a hamburger) in more detail. There are really only THREE main parts.

Free Hamburger Paragraphs Graphic Organizer

Three Main Parts of a Paragraph:

  1. The point you are trying to address (the top bun) is what you want to write about. It might be why rainbows are multicolored. Why do dogs bark? Or the reasons behind WWII.
  2. Then comes the explanation (the meat and fixings)– the explanation should provide 1-3 sentences of explanation and expansion.
  3. You finish up with your concluding sentence or comment (the bottom bun). This should draw the whole paragraph together.

Hamburger Paragraphs Examples

Now let’s have a look at some examples for younger and older children:

Paragraph Example 1: My Favorite Food (Younger Children)

(P)       My favorite food is peanut butter.

(E)       I like eating peanut butter because it is sticky and I like to mix it with jelly.

(C)       You can mix peanut butter and jelly to make a sandwich and it will taste great.

Paragraph Example 2: Why did I miss my ride to co-op today?

(P)       Today I missed my ride to co-op, I was ready on time, but my ride didn’t come to get me.

(E)       When I finally got to co-op, I realized that the clocks went forward on Sunday, but I had forgotten to change the time on my watch and was ready an hour before my ride came to pick me up.

(C)       I missed my ride because I forgot to set my watch to the right time. I will make a note in my diary not to make that mistake again.

Paragraph Example 3: One of the causes of World War II

(P)       One of the causes of World War II was the anger that Germany felt over the Treaty of Versailles.

(E)       The Treaty of Versailles included Germany losing parts of its territory. The loss of cities on the French/German border and the creation of the Danzig corridor caused intense anger among the German people and their leaders. This built distrust and irritation with the allied countries.

(C)       Therefore, the resentment over the Treaty of Versailles caused a situation where Fascism could develop in Germany and became a cause of World War II

You can make it easy for your children to learn this technique by creating a graphic organizer together. It’s simply putting your thoughts on paper in an organized way before writing. Once they’ve practiced with it a few times, this technique will always be there to remind your children what to do.

Using the hamburger technique you can easily teach your child to write in concise and meaningful paragraphs about any subject. Want a quick printable to use in your homeschool for hamburger paragraphs? This graphic organizer will help!

Hamburger Paragraphs: How to Teach your Child to Write a Paragraph

Free Hamburger Paragraphs Printable

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