The five-paragraph essay helps students bridge from writing single paragraphs to longer papers. By working off the well-supported paragraph - which consists of a clear, focused topic sentence followed by specific support - students can transition to the five-paragraph structure. Like the paragraph, the 5-paragraph essay is also based on a clear main idea (a thesis statement) and major supporting points, which become the topic sentences of the body paragraphs.
In higher learning, mastery of the five-paragraph essay is fundamental, since this format becomes the first step toward developing longer, well-structured academic essays. While students will bring a variety of ideas to class, the Reading/Writing department teaches how to support and develop these ideas in successful writing.
While structure longer essays is important, students will also practice writing in a variety of rhetorical modes, including Narration, Description, Division/Classification, Comparison/Contrast, and others. By experiencing these patterns, students will become familiar with academic discourse, which they will read and eventually write throughout their collegiate careers.