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5 Paragraph Essay: Step 1: Topic

You Need a Topic

Do you already have a topic? If you do, skip to step 2.

What is a topic?

A topic is:
- The subject/theme of your essay.
- It's "What your paper is about."

How do you decide on a topic?

Imagine you are walking through the jungle. You see a bullseye ahead of you in the bushes.
You need to select an arrow to hit that bullseye. That bullseye target is your writing prompt.

Your topic is like an arrow.



Your arrow (topic) needs to be aimed just right.


At the target of the prompt (the writing task):


Steps to pick a topic


1. Read the prompt carefully.
2. Decide what the prompt is asking you.
3. Make a circle map or list of possible answers.
4. Choose the one you can talk the most about.

Example:

Writing Task Prompt (the target): Throughout your years in school, you have studied about many different people. Think about one of these people you have studied during your time at school. What makes this person special enough to study? Write an essay in which you discuss a person you have studied in school. Explain what it is about this person that is special. Use details and examples to support your ideas.

Do you understand what the writing task prompt is asking you to write about? You must aim your topic (arrow) to hit that target! Read it again to make sure.

Did you figure out it wants you to write about special people you've studied in school? Great. You may already know who you want to talk about, but for most intelligent people, we will need to write down a few options.

On a sheet of scratch paper, write down in the middle the heading "Special people I've studied in school."

Then list the people around that it that you remember studying in school, like Abe Lincoln, George Washington, Christopher Columbus, Jesus Christ, Barack Obama, Martin Luther King, Jr. etc.



Which one can you talk the most about? That's your topic!



If you have decided on your topic, congratulation. Proceed to step 2 to craft your thesis, or else go back to the 5-paragraph essay overview.

Topic Exemplar


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