7+ Explanatory Essay Examples That Get the Best Grades

7+ Explanatory Essay Examples That Get the Best Grades

Table of contents

what is an explanatory essay 5th grade

Meredith Sell

Writing explanatory essays is hard, even for experienced scholars.

In this post, I want to try to tackle the major challenges students face when writing this type of essay, using examples of successful essays. These challenges include:

  • Struggling to come up with the right idea . (solution:  brainstorming techniques )
  • Difficulty in organizing the essay. (solution: working on the outline of the essay)
  • Not having enough evidence or sources to back up points. (solution: doing proper research )
  • Failing to come up with a conclusion. (solution: following our guide to conclusions )
  • Not having enough knowledge of the topic. (solution: summarizing key articles on the topic)
  • Having trouble finding the right words. (solution: writing with Wordtune )
  • Not having enough time to finish the essay. (solution: working on student time management )
  • Not being able to present arguments effectively. (solution: learning essay persuasion techniques )

As you can see, for every issue there is the relevant solution, but it takes time to implement it. Another way of tackling this essay is to see other people's essay examples and getting inspiration from them.

Write your explanatory essay faster with this FREE AI tool > Write your explanatory essay faster with this FREE AI tool >

Explanatory essay generator

What Is an Explanatory Essay?

What Is an Explanatory Essay?

If you google “explanatory essay”, you’ll find a bunch of sites saying that an explanatory essay is the same as an expository essay, or that it’s totally different, or not even mentioning that expository essays exist. Who’s right?

Answer: Whoever your professor agrees with.

No, seriously. Your professor decides the parameters of your assignment. So if your professor defines an explanatory essay as one that describes a perspective or analyzes the efficacy of, for example, a local housing policy—that’s the definition you should work from.

But if your professor distinguishes between explanatory essays (which simply explain what something is and how it works or was developed) and expository essays (which expose the reality of a person, place, thing, or idea through investigation and evaluation), you should distinguish between them as well.

For the purposes of this piece, we’re going to use explanatory and expository interchangeably. The dividing line that some draw between these essay types is unnecessarily technical. What’s important is that both:

  • Use an objective perspective
  • Let the facts speak for themselves

As long as your essay does the same (and includes analysis if required by your professor), you should be in good shape.

Example of explanatory essay

We wrote a whole article on generating essay topic ideas , but here is a good example that can help you get an idea for your own essay:

Why is having a dog as a pet such a wonderful experience?

Dogs are one of the most popular pets in the world. They are beloved companions that bring joy and happiness into the lives of their owners. Dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years and have evolved to become the perfect pet for humans. In this essay, I will explain why having a dog as a pet is a wonderful experience.

One of the primary benefits of having a dog as a pet is the companionship they offer. Dogs are social animals that thrive on human interaction. They are loyal and loving creatures that are always there for their owners. Dogs can help alleviate feelings of loneliness and depression, and provide comfort and support during difficult times.

Another benefit of having a dog as a pet is the health benefits they offer. Studies have shown that owning a dog can help lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and improve overall health. Dogs require daily exercise, which encourages their owners to be more active and can lead to a healthier lifestyle. Additionally, having a dog can boost the immune system and reduce the risk of allergies and asthma in children.

Dogs are also great for families with children. They can help teach children about responsibility, compassion, and empathy. Children can learn to care for and nurture their pets, which can be beneficial for their emotional development. Dogs are also great playmates for children and can provide hours of entertainment and fun.

Training and caring for a dog can also be a rewarding experience. Dogs can be trained to perform a variety of tasks, such as fetching, obedience, and even therapy work. The process of training a dog can help strengthen the bond between the owner and the dog and can be a fulfilling experience. Additionally, caring for a dog requires daily attention and can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment for the owner.

In conclusion, having a dog as a pet can be a wonderful experience. Dogs offer companionship, health benefits, and can be great for families with children. Caring for a dog can also be a rewarding experience and can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment for the owner. Owning a dog is a big responsibility, but the rewards far outweigh the effort required.

Example of an explanatory paragraph, generated with AI:

what is an explanatory essay 5th grade

A few subtypes of explanatory essays:

Description or definition essay example

‍ Perhaps the most basic, this subtype does the deceptively simple work of, well, describing or defining a concept, place, person, etc.

Example: How Suspension Bridges Work

This essay explains: The way suspension bridges are constructed and how their design enables them to carry such immense weight.

Cause-and-effect essay example

This type of essay hones in on a particular phenomenon to show what caused it (i.e., where it came from) and how it influences other things.

Example: How Federally Funded Highways Transformed the United States

This essay explains: The history of federally funded highways in the U.S., when federal programs to fund highway construction started, why politicians and others thought highways were important, and what the effect has been on the landscapes, communities, economies, and ecosystems of the country.

Compare-and-contrast essay example

Take two or more things, gather the facts about them, and then write about their similarities and differences.

Example: Hybrid vs. Electric Cars

This essay explains: The various features of hybrid and electric cars, and shows how they are either different or similar in terms of: cost, energy consumption, size, drive time, ease of use, and so on.

‍ How-to essay example

Walk your reader step-by-step through a procedure so they can do it for themselves. (We’re doing this later!)

Example: How to Prepare for an Intercontinental Bike Trip

This essay explains: How to get ready for a bike trip between nations and continents. Readers learn how to research their route, find out what travel documents they need, choose the right gear, and determine how much training they should do before leaving.

Problem and solution essay example

Explain a problem (along with its causes and effects) and then describe one or more potential solutions to that problem. This subtype could also be combined with compare-and-contrast to determine the most effective solution.

Example: How Bike Infrastructure Could Solve American Obesity

This essay explains: How American reliance on motorized vehicles promotes a sedentary lifestyle that drives obesity, whereas building bike lanes and trails could encourage Americans to be more active and improve their health one pedal at a time.

‍ Chronology essay example

Explain the history or backstory of a person, place, thing, or idea in chronological order.

Example: The Evolution of the Bicycle

This essay explains: The initial invention of the bicycle and how its shape, frame, and size changed over the years.

What type of explanatory essay are you writing? Hopefully, this list helped you hone in. Now, let’s start the writing process.

5 Steps to Write Your Essay

Whether you’re writing an explanatory/expository essay or a persuasive essay, the process of researching and writing is pretty much the same. Both genres require research, organization, and thought . But with expository essays, the thought focuses on making sure you understand your topic inside-out and determining the best way to explain it, while with persuasive essays, you’re focused on crafting a convincing argument.

Follow these steps to turn that blank page into a final manuscript:

1. Choose topic and angle. 

Do you have free rein to write about the topic of your choice? Make the most of it.

In college, my public speaking professor let us choose all of our own speech topics. A classmate gave an explanatory presentation on how to survive the zombie apocalypse . She brought props and had the class totally enchanted. Our professor encouraged creativity, so I’m sure she earned a winning grade—and had fun in the process.

You can’t use props or sound in a written essay, but you can still work some creative magic. That magic starts with choosing your topic and angle.

To choose well, first make sure you understand the assignment: 

  • What exactly has your professor asked you to write? Which of the subtypes should your piece be?
  • Are there any parameters for what type of topic you can write about?
  • What kind of class is this? An English composition class will offer more freedom than, say, a history class focused on the French Revolution.

If you’re allowed to write about anything, brainstorm a list of topics you’re curious about. Then think of smaller topics within that area.

Example: Transportation

  • Electric cars
  • The highway system
  • Engineering

Any of these topics you could easily write volumes about, so next, narrow down to your specific angle. One way I like to come up with angles is to think of how two or three different topics intersect.

Example 1: electric cars + the highway system 

Angle: How Much Will It Cost to Update Federal Highways with Charging Stations for Electric Cars

Notice that this angle includes a third element: cost

Example 2: bicycles + bridges

Angle: The Safest Bridges for Bicycles Have One Thing in Common: No Cars

Third element: safety

Example 3: electric cars + buses

Angle: Electric Cars vs. Buses: Which Is Better for the Environment?

Third element: environment

Your turn: Make a list of topics you’re interested in. Then, identify some intersecting topics. Based on your assignment parameters, develop an angle that narrows your focus to an intersection that interests you.

Not sure what angle to go with? Do some broad research on your topics and then return to this step.

2. Research, research, research.

Explanatory essays require solid research. These essays exist to lay out the facts for the reader so they can clearly understand the topic. Your opinion—what you think about electric cars or suspension bridges or transportation infrastructure—doesn’t matter. And it doesn’t belong here.

Where you should start your research depends on how much knowledge you already have.

If you’re writing about suspension bridges and you already know the Brooklyn Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge are suspension bridges, you probably don’t need to start with the encyclopedic entry for “suspension bridges”. But if you don’t know the basic facts about your topic, encyclopedias are a great place to start.

Thanks to the advances of technology—and this marvelous thing called the internet—you don’t have to go to a research library to gain that ground-level knowledge of your topic. But you do still need to make sure you’re drawing from credible sources.

For encyclopedias, try these to start:

  • Encyclopedia.com

Dictionaries can be helpful too:

  • Merriam-Webster
  • Dictionary.com

Once you know your topics’ basic facts, focus on researching those topics in the context of your angle . It may help to make a list of questions you’re trying to answer so you can keep your research focused.

Example: Electric Cars vs. Buses: Which Is Better for the Environment?

  • Are most buses gas-powered or electric?
  • What’s the average emissions of greenhouse gas from gas-powered buses?
  • How much energy do electric cars use? What’s the lifespan of their batteries? Are they just using electricity that was produced in a polluting way somewhere else? What about electric buses?
  • How many people can ride a bus? How many people typically are transported by one car? 
  • What would be the average energy consumption per person in an electric car versus a bus?

Once you know the questions you need to answer, look for sources that address those questions. For an academic essay, you’ll probably want to stick with academic sources : peer-reviewed studies and research papers published by academic journals. But official government databases can also be useful. And news stories from reputable publications can provide some direction as well (check with your professor to see whether or not you can use news publications as sources for your essay). Your educational institution likely provides access to all of these kinds of sources through the university library.

Your turn: Think through your angle and make a list of questions your piece needs to answer. Next, start searching academic databases for the information you need. Take notes as you research, and be sure to save any links, titles, author names, page numbers, and publication information you’ll need to properly cite your sources.

3. Outline your essay.

Call me crazy, but I actually think this is the fun part. I hated writing outlines when I was in school, but since making my living as a professional writer, they’ve become the #1 way I beat writer’s block.

First: Throw out the idea that your outline should be a series of bullet points neatly organized into sections and subsections. Your outline only needs to make sense to you , so play around to find an approach that works with your brain. The idea here is simply to make a map you’ll follow when you sit down to write.

Here’s what I do:

  • Identify the specific hook I’m going to use to start things off.
  • List the different examples and details I need to include.
  • Use the main focus or idea of my piece to order everything in a natural, logical way.

A lot of times, my outline becomes a combination of bullet points and sentences or paragraphs I write as I’m sketching out the piece. I’m basically just thinking the piece through, from beginning to end. Instead of getting stuck while I’m writing, I work through the tough spots in the outlining stage.

This is what my outline looked like for this piece:

what is an explanatory essay 5th grade

Okay, that’s kind of long, so I cut it off early—but you get the point. 

A lot of times, my outline starts as bare-bones bullets. As I work on it, ideas pop up that I stick in where they make sense. But when I write, those elements might move around ( notice how the examples of transportation essays got bumped up to the section on subtypes of essays ).

Your outline is just a guide. It’s not an architect’s blueprint that needs to be followed to the exact millimeter. There’s room for things to change. 

But an outline keeps you on-track when you’re writing . If you find yourself stuck (or lost) in the writing step, reference your map. You might need to backtrack, move what you’ve written around, or adjust your route. 

Your turn: Take a few minutes and sketch out your essay. Where does it start? What points does it hit? Are there any ways you see the different points connecting that should inform how you order them? As you think it through, scribble out any lines or paragraphs that come to you and stick them in the outline where they make the most sense. Even if you don’t use these exact words later, they’ll help prevent that deer-in-the-headlights stare that hits when you see a blank page.

Time to put everything together! 

With your outline and research ready, start your intro and set up your piece. Your opening should briefly introduce your readers to the topic(s) you’re writing about and the questions you’re going to answer—but don’t give everything away. You want to stir up readers’ curiosity and give them a reason to keep reading.

Depending on the length of your essay, your intro may be one to three paragraphs long (longer pieces get longer intros). But it should be concise and to the point, and smoothly transition into the body of your essay.

The body is the meat and potatoes of your piece. Answer those questions, flesh out your explanation, and give readers a thorough understanding of your topic. Show off your research! Include those bizarre and fascinating facts you learned along the way. Use a tasteful metaphor or compelling anecdote to explain some of the more difficult aspects of your topic. 

As you write, be sure to follow a consistent logic throughout your piece: 

  • If you’re detailing a history or an event, use chronological order: start at the beginning and write about the events in the order that they happened.
  • Are you explaining how a machine or other invention works? Start with where the movement starts—the pedals of a bicycle, the wind turning the turbines—or with the feature doing the most significant work (e.g., the wires of the suspension bridge). 
  • Other logics include: size (small to large, large to small), significance (greatest to least), or space (left to right, right to left, outside to center, center to outside).

You don’t need to label everything you write about as the “next biggest” or “least significant”, but sticking to a logic helps your readers orient themselves—and helps you determine which paragraph or subtopic should go where. This way, your thoughts clearly flow from one paragraph to the next. 

‍ Quick note: If you can’t name the logic that’s guiding your piece, don’t worry. As long as your paragraphs naturally follow each other and all questions raised in the intro are answered by the end, your essay probably follows a logic just fine. But if you feel like your piece bounces around willy-nilly, play with a couple different logics and see if one smoothly orders your sentences and paragraphs.

Your turn: Get writing! If you’re stuck on the intro, try writing a working title for your piece to focus your attention. Then, follow your outline to work all the way from the beginning to a conclusion that sums everything up.

If you can, let your piece sit for at least a day. Then, for the editing process , open up that document and read through with these questions in mind:

  • Does the essay fulfill the assignment? Review the assignment description from your professor. Does your essay tick all the boxes? If not, what’s missing? Can you weave that element into what you’ve already written? Revise as necessary.
  • Are the sentences and paragraphs ordered in a way that makes logical sense? If your essay feels clunky in places, you might have switched logics (as explained above) or you might need to insert some more explanation that clearly ties the sentences or paragraphs together. Make sure your essay doesn’t just list facts, but also shows how they relate to each other.
  • Does the hook catch your eye? The beginning of your piece should grab your reader’s attention. Check out our advice for prize-winning hooks here .
  • Does the conclusion effectively sum things up? Instead of repeating everything your essay says, your conclusion should briefly distill the main takeaway or core idea for your reader. It should show that you’ve fulfilled the promise made in your intro, without being unnecessarily repetitive or redundant.
  • Have you cited all your sources? Make sure to cross this off before hitting “submit.” Follow the citation style specified by your professor.
  • Is spelling and grammar clean and correct? You are writing, after all, and these things matter. A bonus tip to help you catch those sneaky typos: Read your piece backwards. You might be surprised what you spot.

Did We Explain That Well Enough?

This blog was basically a long, non-academic explanatory essay, so hopefully, you’ve learned something new and are feeling less overwhelmed about your essay on medieval literature, transportation infrastructure, Persian history—or whatever you’re writing about.

Share This Article:

What’s a Split Infinitive? Definition + When to Avoid It

What’s a Split Infinitive? Definition + When to Avoid It

Preparing for Graduate School: 8 Tips to Know

Preparing for Graduate School: 8 Tips to Know

How to Master Concise Writing: 9 Tips to Write Clear and Crisp Content

How to Master Concise Writing: 9 Tips to Write Clear and Crisp Content

Looking for fresh content, thank you your submission has been received.

what is an explanatory essay 5th grade

How to Write an Explanatory Essay: Comprehensive Guide with Examples

what is an explanatory essay 5th grade

What Is an Explanatory Essay: Definition

Have you ever been tasked with explaining a complex topic to someone without prior knowledge? It can be challenging to break down complex ideas into simple terms that are easy to understand. That's where explanatory writing comes in! An explanatory essay, also known as an expository essay, is a type of academic writing that aims to explain a particular topic or concept clearly and concisely. These essays are often used in academic settings but can also be found in newspapers, magazines, and online publications.

For example, if you were asked to explain how a car engine works, you would need to provide a step-by-step explanation of the different parts of the engine and how they work together to make the car move. Or, if you were asked to explain the process of photosynthesis, you would need to explain how plants use sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to create energy.

When wondering - 'what is an explanatory essay?', remember that the goal of an explanatory paper is to provide the reader with a better understanding of the topic at hand. Unlike an opinion essay , this type of paper does not argue for or against a particular viewpoint but rather presents information neutrally and objectively. By the end of the essay, the reader should clearly understand the topic and be able to explain it to others in their own words.

Also, there is no set number of paragraphs in an explanatory essay, as it can vary depending on the length and complexity of the topic. However, when wondering - 'how many paragraphs in an explanatory essay?', know that a typical example of explanatory writing will have an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

However, some essays may have more or fewer body paragraphs, depending on the topic and the writer's preference. Ultimately, an explanatory essay format aims to provide a clear and thorough explanation of the topic, using as many paragraphs as necessary.

Explanatory Essay Topics

20 Interesting Explanatory Essay Topics 

Now that we have defined what is explanatory essay, the next step is choosing a good explanatory topic. A well-chosen topic is interesting and relevant to your audience while also being something you are knowledgeable about and can provide valuable insights on. By selecting a topic that is too broad or too narrow, you run the risk of either overwhelming your audience with too much information or failing to provide enough substance to fully explain the topic. Additionally, choosing a topic that is too controversial or biased can lead to difficulty in presenting information objectively and neutrally. By choosing a good explanatory topic, you can ensure that your essay is well-informed, engaging, and effective in communicating your ideas to your audience.

Here are 20 creative explanatory essay topics by our admission essay service to consider:

  • How does the human brain process emotions?
  • The benefits and drawbacks of remote work.
  • The science behind climate change and its effects.
  • The history and evolution of hip-hop music.
  • The impact of social media on mental health.
  • The benefits of learning a second language.
  • The process of how a computer operates.
  • The causes and effects of bullying in schools.
  • The impact of technology on modern education.
  • The reasons for the decline of bee populations and their importance to the ecosystem.
  • The effects of caffeine on the human body.
  • The process of how vaccines work to prevent disease.
  • The impact of video games on youth behavior and development.
  • The reasons for the gender pay gap and how to close it.
  • The benefits and drawbacks of renewable energy sources.
  • The history and cultural significance of tattoos.
  • The causes and effects of income inequality in society.
  • The process of how a book is published.
  • The impact of social media on political discourse.
  • The benefits and drawbacks of the gig economy.

How to Start an Explanatory Essay: Important Steps

Starting an explanatory essay can be challenging, especially if you are unsure where to begin. However, by following a few simple steps, you can effectively kick-start your writing process and produce a clear and concise essay. Here are some tips and examples from our term paper writing services on how to start an explanatory essay:

How to Start an Explanatory Essay

  • Choose an engaging topic : Your topic should be interesting, relevant, and meaningful to your audience. For example, if you're writing about climate change, you might focus on a specific aspect of the issue, such as the effects of rising sea levels on coastal communities.
  • Conduct research : Gather as much information as possible on your topic. This may involve reading scholarly articles, conducting interviews, or analyzing data. For example, if you're writing about the benefits of mindfulness meditation, you might research the psychological and physical benefits of the practice.
  • Develop an outline : Creating an outline will help you logically organize your explanatory essay structure. For example, you might organize your essay on the benefits of mindfulness meditation by discussing its effects on mental health, physical health, and productivity.
  • Provide clear explanations: When writing an explanatory article, it's important to explain complex concepts clearly and concisely. Use simple language and avoid technical jargon. For example, if you're explaining the process of photosynthesis, you might use diagrams and visual aids to help illustrate your points.
  • Use evidence to support your claims : Use evidence from reputable sources to support your claims and arguments. This will help to build credibility and persuade your readers. For example, if you're writing about the benefits of exercise, you might cite studies that demonstrate its positive effects on mental health and cognitive function.

By following these tips and examples, you can effectively start your expository essays and produce a well-structured, informative, and engaging piece of writing.

Do You Need a Perfect Essay?

To get a high-quality piece that meets your strict deadlines, seek out the help of our professional paper writers

Explanatory Essay Outline

As mentioned above, it's important to create an explanatory essay outline to effectively organize your ideas and ensure that your essay is well-structured and easy to follow. An outline helps you organize your thoughts and ideas logically and systematically, ensuring that you cover all the key points related to your topic. It also helps you identify gaps in your research or argument and allows you to easily revise and edit your essay. In this way, an outline can greatly improve the overall quality and effectiveness of your explanatory essay.

Explanatory Essay Introduction

Here are some tips from our ' do my homework ' service to create a good explanatory essay introduction that effectively engages your readers and sets the stage for the entire essay:

  • Start with a hook: Begin your introduction with an attention-grabbing statement or question that draws your readers in. For example, you might start your essay on the benefits of exercise with a statistic on how many Americans suffer from obesity.
  • Provide context: Give your readers some background information on the topic you'll be discussing. This helps to set the stage and ensures that your readers understand the importance of the topic. For example, you might explain the rise of obesity rates in the United States over the past few decades.
  • State your thesis: A good explanatory thesis example should be clear, concise, and focused. It should state the main argument or point of your essay. For example, you might state, ' Regular exercise is crucial to maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of chronic diseases.'
  • Preview your main points: Give your readers an idea of what to expect in the body of your essay by previewing your main points. For example, you might explain that you'll be discussing the benefits of exercise for mental health, physical health, and longevity.
  • Keep it concise: Your introduction should be brief and to the point. Avoid getting bogged down in too much detail or providing too much background information. A good rule of thumb is to keep your introduction to one or two paragraphs.

The Body Paragraphs

By following the following tips, you can create well-organized, evidence-based explanation essay body paragraphs that effectively support your thesis statement.

  • Use credible sources: When providing evidence to support your arguments, use credible sources such as peer-reviewed academic journals or reputable news outlets. For example, if you're writing about the benefits of a plant-based diet, you might cite a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
  • Organize your paragraphs logically: Each body paragraph should focus on a specific aspect or argument related to your topic. Organize your paragraphs logically so that each one builds on the previous one. For example, if you're writing about the causes of climate change, you might organize your paragraphs to focus on human activity, natural causes, and the effects of climate change.
  • Use transitional phrases: Use transitional phrases to help your readers follow the flow of your ideas. For example, you might use phrases such as 'in addition,' 'furthermore,' or 'on the other hand' to indicate a shift in your argument.
  • Provide analysis: Don't just present evidence; provide analysis and interpretation of the evidence. For example, if you're writing about the benefits of early childhood education, you might analyze the long-term effects on academic achievement and future earnings.
  • Summarize your main points: End each body paragraph with a sentence that summarizes the main point or argument you've made. This helps to reinforce your thesis statement and keep your essay organized. For example, you might end a paragraph on the benefits of exercise by stating, 'Regular exercise has been shown to improve mental and physical health, making it a crucial aspect of a healthy lifestyle.'

Explanatory Essay Conclusion

Here are some unique tips on how to write an explanatory essay conclusion that leaves a lasting impression on your readers.

How to Start an Explanatory Essay steps

  • Offer a solution or recommendation: Instead of summarizing your main points, offer suggestions based on the information you've presented. This can help to make your essay more impactful and leave a lasting impression on your readers. For example, if you're writing about the effects of pollution on the environment, you might recommend using more eco-friendly products or investing in renewable energy sources.
  • Emphasize the importance of your topic: Use your concluding statement to emphasize the importance of your topic and why it's relevant to your readers. This can help to inspire action or change. For example, suppose you're writing about the benefits of volunteering. In that case, you might emphasize how volunteering helps others and has personal benefits such as improved mental health and a sense of purpose.
  • End with a powerful quote or statement: End your explanatory essay conclusion with a powerful quote or statement that reinforces your main point or leaves a lasting impression on your readers. For example, if you're writing about the importance of education, you might end your essay with a quote from Nelson Mandela, such as, 'Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.'

Explanatory Essay Example

Here is an example of an explanatory essay:

Explanatory Essay Example:

Importance of Basketball

Final Thoughts

Now you understand whats an explanatory essay. However, if you're still feeling overwhelmed or unsure about writing an explanatory essay, don't worry. Our team of experienced writers is here to provide you with top-notch academic assistance tailored to your specific needs. Whether you need to explain what is an appendix in your definition essay or rewrite essay in five paragraphs, we've got you covered! With our professional help, you can ensure that your essay is well-researched, well-written, and meets all the academic requirements.

And if you'd rather have a professional craft flawless explanatory essay examples, know that our friendly team is dedicated to helping you succeed in your academic pursuits. So why not take the stress out of writing and let us help you achieve the academic success you deserve? Contact us today with your ' write paper for me ' request, and we will support you every step of the way.

Tired of Struggling to Put Your Thoughts into Words? 

Say goodbye to stress and hello to A+ grades with our top-notch academic writing services.

Related Articles

How to Write a Summary of a Book with an Example


  • Mathematics
  • Reading and Writing
  • Intervention
  • Professional Learning
  • Virtual Events
  • What is Phonics?
  • Teaching Grammar
  • Vocabulary Games
  • What is Virtual Learning?
  • About Sadlier
  • Find a Sales Representative
  • International Distributors
  • International Programs
  • Online Catalogs
  • Sadlier School Site Map
  • Pricing & Ordering Information
  • Sadlier’s W-9
  • Sadlier’s Sole Source Letter
  • Sadlier’s Credit Application
  • Privacy Policy
  • Return Policy
  • Terms & Conditions

Sadlier's English Language Arts Blog

what is an explanatory essay 5th grade

  • Author Interviews
  • Interactive Read Alouds
  • Close Reading
  • Vocabulary/Vocab Gal
  • Writing with Vocabulary
  • Assessments
  • Charts/Posters
  • Graphic Organizers
  • Back to School
  • End of School
  • Classroom Management
  • Grammar & Writing
  • Thinking Routines
  • About Our Bloggers

April 23, 2021 CG Writing Lessons CCSS 6-8 , CG Writing Lessons CCSS K-5 , CG Writing Lessons 9-12 , CG Writing Lessons K-5 , CG Writing Lessons 6-8 , CG Writing Lessons CCSS 9-12 , ELA K-5 , ELA 6-8 , ELA Focus - Writing , ELA 9-12 , ELA Resources - Charts/Posters , Core Grammar

Informative/explanatory writing in the classroom, grades 3–12, by: tiffany rehbein.

Lets explore the importance of teaching informative/explanatory writing in the classroom. Students need to have the ability to clearly convey concepts and information in their writing. This skill is crucial for communication in future careers and life! Download a FREE Informative/Explanatory Writing Kit now!


The Purpose of Informative/Explanatory Writing

The primary purpose of informative/explanatory writing is to increase knowledge. When writing an informative/explanatory text, the writer answers questions of why or how. Informative writing educates the reader by imparting straightforward information on a certain topic. Unlike other types of writing, informative writing does not aim to change the reader's thinking or move the reader to take action.

Download a kit of resources that will help students improve their informative/explanatory writing skills.


Elements of an Informative/Explanatory Essay

A well-written informative essay should include the following elements:

Has an introduction that introduces a topic and grabs the reader's attention

Clearly conveys information and ideas about a topic

Develops a topic with a variety of specific, relevant details, such as facts, examples, quotations, and anecdotes

Clearly organizes ideas and information, using strategies such as compare/contrast, cause/effect, definition, and classification

Uses formatting, graphics, and multimedia, such as hyperlinks when appropriate

Uses precise language and vocabulary appropriate to the topic

Uses appropriate transition words and phrases that clarify the relationship among ideas

Uses a formal style and tone

Ends with a conclusion that summarizes the main points and follows logically from the information presented

Follows the conventions of standard English

This checklist is a great tip sheet for students to keep in their folders! Teachers can access this checklist in the Informative/Explanatory Writing Kit .


Introductions and Conclusions for Informational Writing


In many essays, the first paragraph should introduce your topic to readers and include a thesis statement, or claim. A thesis statement is one or two sentences that state your main idea.

A strong introduction also needs to capture the readers’ attention. Students can use one of the following to get readers interested right away:

  • Include an unusual fact
  • Ask a question
  • Include vivid description
  • Tell a brief story

Introduction examples for informative/explanatory texts...

WEAK – Money has been important to people throughout history. This paper will describe the history of money and explain why people started using it. It will also describe different types of money.

STRONG – Think of these four things: knives, beads, cows, and whales' teeth. What do they have in common? The answer is that people have used them as money in trades. Through history, different cultures have used some surprising forms of currency.


A good conclusion sums up your main point and restates the these statement in a new way.

Students should use their conclusion to bring your writing to a satisfying finish. Students can use the following strategies to wrap up an essay:

  • Summarize key points
  • Make a prediction
  • Offer an opinion or a suggestion
  • Explain the topic's importance

Download a tip sheet for students that outlines strategies for writing introductions and conclusions for informative/explanatory texts!


Transition Words and Phrases for Information Writing

A well-written informational essay uses techniques to build coherence between and within paragraphs. Coherence in writing means that a reader can move easily and clearly from one idea to the next. To achieve coherence, writers use transitions words and phrases. Linking ideas and key information with transition words and phrases will tie one sentence to another and show the connections between ideas.

Below is a tip sheet that lists transition words and phrases that can be used to build coherence between and within paragraphs. Download my Informative/Explanatory Writing Kit to make get the worksheet for your students!


Informative/Explanatory Writing Assignments

There are a number of ways for students to practice writing informative/explanatory texts. Some of my favorite informative writing assignments are:

  • Basic Paragraph
  • Brochure/Pamphlet

Writing Assignment Idea #1

My Informative/Explanatory Writing Kit includes an informational writing activity worksheet for students! With this informative writing assignment students will write about something they like to make or do. It could be their favorite recipe or craft, a game they like to play or hobby. Using the worksheet, students will write the directions of how to follow the rules, recipe, or steps to create something. In addition to writing about something they like to make/play, students will underline all linking words and draw an illustration!

With this informative writing assignment students will write about something they like to make or do. It could be their favorite recipe or craft, a game they like to play or hobby. Using the worksheet, students will write the directions of how to follow the rules, recipe, or steps to create something. In addition to writing about something they like to make/play, students will underline all linking words and draw an illustration!

Below are two additional writing assignments you could assign students to work on their informative writing skills. In addition to looking at the ways your students write informative or explanatory texts, you will also have the chance to check that proper nouns are capitalized properly. What a great way to combine writing and grammar!

Writing Assignment Idea #2

To assess how well your students write informative/explanatory texts, use calendar holidays as a writing topic. For instance, you might ask students to choose their favorite holiday and explain in writing why they like it the best.

To help students choose a holiday for an explanatory essay, you could provide them with a list. Some common holidays follow:

  • Thanksgiving
  • New Year’s Eve
  • Valentine's Day
  • St. Patrick's Day
  • Fourth of July

Writing Assignment Idea #3

Want to be more creative? You can add a twist to the informative essay and provide your students with some lesser-known days of celebration. This would encourage students to do some research and inform their audience. Here are some possible calendar celebrations students could research and write about:

  • Metropolitan Museum of Art Opened in NYC (1872)
  • Jackie Robinson Day
  • World Fish Migration Day
  • National Plush Animal Day
  • King Tut Day
  • William Shakespeare's Birthday
  • Transportation Week
  • World Architecture Day

Informative/Explanatory Writing Format

Informative or explanatory writing follows an organized format. Using the anagram INFORM, teachers and students can easily remember the elements of an informative essay . Download a poster to remind your students about the parts of the INFORMative essay! 

Informative or explanatory writing follows an organized format. Using the anagram INFORM, teachers and students can easily remember the elements of an informative essay. Download a poster to remind your students about the parts of the INFORMative essay!   informative-explanatory-writing-anagram-750px

Jump to navigation

  • Inside Writing
  • Teacher's Guides
  • Student Models
  • Writing Topics
  • Minilessons
  • Shopping Cart
  • Inside Grammar
  • Grammar Adventures
  • CCSS Correlations
  • Infographics

Get a free Grammar Adventure! Choose a single Adventure and add coupon code ADVENTURE during checkout. (All-Adventure licenses aren’t included.)

Sign up or login to use the bookmarking feature.

  • 23 Writing Explanatory Essays

Writing Explanatory Essays

Start-Up Activity

Ask your students if they know what the term elaboration means. Write the term on the board, circling the word "labor" in the middle. Elaboration actually means “the act of working out ideas." When students write explanatory essays, they need to elaborate their ideas, working them out in detail. Tell your students that when they read the explanatory essay in this chapter, they will see how one student worked out ideas.

Think About It

“Essays are how we speak to one another in print.”

—Edward Hoagland

State Standards Covered in This Chapter


LAFS Covered in This Chapter

Lafs.4.ri.1.1, lafs.4.ri.1.2, lafs.4.ri.2.5, lafs.4.w.1.2, lafs.5.ri.1.1, lafs.5.ri.1.2, lafs.5.ri.2.5, lafs.5.w.1.2, lafs.4.w.2.4, lafs.4.w.2.5, lafs.4.w.3.7, lafs.4.w.3.8, lafs.4.w.3.9, lafs.5.w.2.4, lafs.5.w.2.5, lafs.5.w.3.7, lafs.5.w.3.8, lafs.5.w.3.9, teks covered in this chapter, 110.6.b.9.d, 110.6.b.9.d.i, 110.6.b.9.d.iii, 110.6.b.11.b, 110.6.b.12.b, 110.6.b.11.b.i, 110.6.b.11.b.ii, 110.7.b.9.d, 110.7.b.7.d, 110.7.b.9.d.iii, 110.7.b.12.b, 110.7.b.11.a, 110.7.b.11.b.i, 110.7.b.11.b.ii, 110.6.b.11.a, 110.6.b.11.c, 110.6.b.11.d, 110.6.b.13.c, 110.6.b.13.d, 110.6.b.13.e, 110.7.b.11.c, 110.7.b.11.d, 110.7.b.13.b, 110.7.b.13.c, 110.7.b.13.d, page 166 from writers express, sample explanatory essay.

Have student volunteers read the sample explanatory essay, one paragraph at a time. Then review the essay with your class, pointing out the features listed in the side notes. Show how the writer begins by introducing the topic and leading to the focus statement.

You can also present other explanatory essays .

Related Resource Tags

Click to view a list of tags that tie into other resources on our site

Page 167 from Writers Express

Sample Explanatory Essay (Continued)

Point out to your students that each middle paragraph in the essay focuses on a different part of the topic. Also, show how the ending revisits the focus statement without repeating it word for word.

Page 168 from Writers Express

Building an essay.

Use this page to provide your students an overview of the three parts of an explanatory essay: beginning, middle, and ending. Also, show how transition words and key words link the paragraphs and the sentences within paragraphs.

Page 169 from Writers Express

Writing an explanatory essay.

Use this page to help your students get started with their explanatory writing. You may want to assign a general subject area that relates to material you are studying. Then students can select specific topics within that subject area.

For more topic ideas, see page 172 in the student handbook. Also you can consider a host of other explanatory writing topics .

You might schedule computer time or library time for your students to gather details about their topics.

Use the formula at the bottom of the page to help your students create a specific focus for their topics. The minilesson can help them form a focus as well.

Forming a Focus

Help students write strong focus statements.

illustration of squirrel looking through a telescope

Page 170 from Writers Express

Prewriting: organizing your details.

Show your students these two methods for organizing details: lists and outlines. Often, a simple list can get the job done. If students need a more rigorous approach in order to ensure that they have enough details, you can have them create an outline.

Page 171 from Writers Express

Writing: developing your first draft.

Use this page to guide your students as they create the beginning, middle, and ending of their essays.

Download and distribute the explanatory essay revising and editing checklist.


Page 172 from Writers Express

Possible writing topics.

Use this page to help spur students' imaginations in coming up with interesting explanatory writing topics.

You can also direct your students to additional explanatory writing topics .

Or you could use the freewriting minilesson to help students find possible topics.

Freewriting for Writing Topics

Have students freewrite for topic ideas.

girl freewriting

  • 01 A Basic Writing Guide
  • 02 Understanding the Writing Process
  • 03 One Writer's Process
  • 04 Qualities of Writing
  • 05 Selecting and Collecting
  • 06 Focusing and Organizing
  • 07 Writing and Revising
  • 09 Publishing
  • 10 Writing Basic Sentences
  • 11 Combining Sentences
  • 12 Writing Paragraphs
  • 13 Understanding Writing Terms and Techniques
  • 14 Understanding Text Structures
  • 15 Writing in Journals
  • 16 Using Learning Logs
  • 17 Writing Emails and Blogs
  • 18 Writing Personal Narratives
  • 19 Writing Fantasies
  • 20 Writing Realistic Stories
  • 21 Writing Stories from History
  • 22 Responding to Narrative Prompts
  • 24 Writing Process Essays
  • 25 Writing Comparison-Contrast Essays
  • 26 Responding to Explanatory Prompts
  • 27 Writing Persuasive Essays
  • 28 Writing Persuasive Letters
  • 29 Writing Problem-Solution Essays
  • 30 Responding to Persuasive Prompts
  • 31 Writing Book Reviews
  • 32 Writing About Literature
  • 33 Responding to Literature Prompts
  • 34 Writing Reports
  • 35 Writing Research Reports
  • 36 Writing Summaries
  • 37 Writing Plays
  • 38 Writing Poems
  • 39 Communicating Online
  • 40 Researching Online
  • 41 Staying Safe Online
  • 42 Reading Strategies for Fiction
  • 43 Reading Strategies for Nonfiction
  • 44 Reading Graphics
  • 45 Building Vocabulary Skills
  • 46 Becoming a Better Speller
  • 47 Giving Speeches
  • 48 Improving Viewing Skills
  • 49 Improving Listening Skills
  • 50 Using Graphic Organizers
  • 51 Thinking and Writing
  • 52 Thinking Clearly
  • 53 Thinking Creatively
  • 54 Completing Assignments
  • 55 Working in Groups
  • 56 Taking Tests
  • 57 Taking Good Notes
  • 58 Marking Punctuation
  • 59 Editing for Mechanics
  • 60 Check Your Spelling
  • 61 Using the Right Word
  • 62 Understanding Sentences
  • 63 Understanding Our Language

5th grade nonfiction writing samples

by: Jessica Kelmon | Updated: July 23, 2016

Print article

5th grade writing samples

When it comes to writing, fifth grade is a red-letter year. To prepare for the demands of middle school and high school writing, fifth graders should be mastering skills required for strong nonfiction writing . Learn more about your fifth grader’s writing under Common Core . All students should be learning three styles of writing:

Informative/explanatory writing

Reports that convey information accurately with facts, details, and supporting information.

Narrative writing

Stories, poems, plays, and other types of fiction that convey a plot, character development, and/or personal stories.

Opinion writing

Writing in which students try to convince readers to accept their opinion about something using reasons and examples.

Fifth grade writing sample #1

Bipolar Children

This student’s report starts with a decorative cover and a table of contents. The report has eight sections, each clearly labeled with a bold subhead, and includes a bibliography. At the end, this student adds three visuals, two images from the internet with handwritten captions and a related, hand-drawn cartoon.

Type of writing: Informative/explanatory writing

Fifth grade writing sample #2

The 442nd Regimental Combat Team

Dylan’s report is thorough and well organized. There’s a cover page, an opening statement, and four clear sections with subheads, including a conclusion. You’ll see from the teacher’s note at the end that the assignment is for an opinion piece, but Dylan clearly writes a strong informational/explanatory piece, which is why it’s included here.

Fifth grade writing sample #3

The Harmful Ways of By-Catch and Overfishing

This student includes facts and examples to inform the reader about by-catch and overfishing. Then, at the end, the student tries to convince the reader to take a personal interest in these topics and gives example of how the reader can take action, too.

Type of writing: Opinion writing

See more examples of real kids’ writing in different grades: Kindergarten , first grade , second grade , third grade , fourth grade .

Homes Nearby

Homes for rent and sale near schools


6 ways to improve a college essay


Quick writing tips for every age

Writing on the wall

Writing on the wall

Why parents must teach writing

GreatSchools Logo

Yes! Sign me up for updates relevant to my child's grade.

Please enter a valid email address

Thank you for signing up!

Server Issue: Please try again later. Sorry for the inconvenience

Genie Academy

  • East Brunswick
  • Hillsborough
  • South Brunswick
  • South Plainfield
  • (732) 659-4364

How to Write A 5th Grade Level Essay

5th grade writing

There are four basic types of prompts for fifth grade students: narrative, persuasive, expository, and creative writing. 

Narrative Essay

A narrative essay requires them to tell a story, real or imagined, using descriptive writing to reflect on their experiences, explain them logically, and draw conclusions from them. The writing prompt will be something like this: Think about a time you did something that made you feel guilty. Describe what happened.

To answer this, your child will have to tell the story of a time they did something wrong and what the consequences were. They will likely make use of the “five senses” and discuss how they felt moment-to-moment as they describe the events. Dialogue is an important part of this, too; they may describe the conversation they had with their teacher or with you, confessing what they did and apologizing.

Persuasive Essay

A persuasive essay is written to convince another person to agree with the writer or take action. The prompt will look something like this: What is your least-favorite food at the school cafeteria? Give three compelling reasons why your school should quit serving it. To answer this, your child needs to make sure to have three logical and persuasive reasons for why whatever food they choose is bad.

For example, they may hate the green beans they are given. The reasons they give don’t have to be particularly nuanced, but should still be realistic and logical. Their reasons may be that they are canned and therefore aren’t as nutritious as fresh, they are overcooked, and they make everyone’s breath smell bad. Their essay should also make a case for a replacement or better idea, such as serving fresh green beans or different vegetable options.

Expository Essay

An expository essay requires your child to explain something, like a how-to guide or providing facts about a topic. This essay prompt will look something like this: Your favorite book was made into a movie. Compare and contrast the film and book versions. To answer this, your child will need to point out the differences and similarities between the two works.

For example, the movie may have cut out a lot of scenes from the book or added new ones. Characters may dress differently or say different dialogue in the movie, or they may be perfect representations of how they look in the book. There shouldn’t be a list of similarities and differences; instead, your child should organize these comparisons in paragraphs that have a logical flow. For example, they may start by going through differences in the events of the two works and how the movie improves on certain plots, then discuss character differences and how they are better in the book, and finish with their ideas about which version tells the story better.

Creative Writing

Creative writing has your child use their story-telling skills while also practicing vital writing skills such as sequence and description. A creative writing prompt can look something like this: Write a story from your pet’s point of view. A creative writing prompt requires your child to consider things from a different perspective, and they may even write a poem or song instead of an essay, depending on their assignment.

To answer this prompt, they will need to consider what the world looks, sounds, and feels like from a very different view. It doesn’t have to be a perfect narrative, it can be the pet’s ideas and feelings about their life and how they feel about your child. Creative writing prompts are an opportunity for your child to stretch their imagination and try out different things in their writing.

If your child is having a hard time with these prompts, a way to help is to enroll them in Reading Genie. The program is designed to give your child practice writing while engaging them in fun topics and ideas. The teachers at Reading Genie give helpful and kind advice, and your child will have opportunities to get feedback from their peers to build their confidence.

You can also practice writing prompts with your child at home; they can be a lot of fun! Even if you don’t end up writing anything, discussing ideas with your child and how to approach certain prompts and questions can help get their minds active.

Genie Academy offers a range of after-school programs focused on enhancing skills in mathematics, literacy, composition, and coding. These educational services are available at various sites across New Jersey, such as Plainsboro , and are designed to cater to the learning needs of children from Pre-Kindergarten to 8th grade.

Source: https://www.thoughtco.com/fifth-grade-writing-prompts-4171627

Topics: Essay , Writing Skills , Fifth Grade , paragraph writing , Writing Prompt

Get A Free Assessment

Sign up or call 732-651-2700 to schedule your free class.

Math Programs & Pricing

Latest Article

  • Best Math Tutoring Programs For Kids in New Jersey
  • Studies on Poor Math skills lead to poor financial outcomes
  • Return on Investment of Genie Academy
  • What to Do If Your Child Isn't Focused During Online Learning
  • Genie Academy’s Halloween Contest Winners 2023

Reading Programs & Pricing

Get Free Updates

Sign up to receive our newsletter

What To Do Next…

1 Get your free 60-minute Child Assessment and learn:

  • If your child is learning at the appropriate age level .
  • Your child’s strengths and where they need additional help .
  • If your child has an affinity for a particular subject, they may excel in .
  • Our professional recommendations and learning strategy for your child.
  • And much more…

2 Have more questions? Call us at 732-651-2700 to discuss your Child's specific needs.


Related posts.

Why American Literacy Standards are Dropping...

July 28, 2022

Is my child missing bricks?

July 21, 2022

How much knowledge has your child lost because of the pandemic?

July 20, 2022

EL Education Curriculum

You are here.

  • ELA G5:M1:U2:L13

Writing a Literary Essay: Introduction

In this lesson, daily learning targets, ongoing assessment.

  • Technology and Multimedia

Supporting English Language Learners

Universal design for learning, closing & assessments, you are here:.

  • ELA Grade 5
  • ELA G5:M1:U2

Like what you see?

Order printed materials, teacher guides and more.

How to order

Help us improve!

Tell us how the curriculum is working in your classroom and send us corrections or suggestions for improving it.

Leave feedback

These are the CCS Standards addressed in this lesson:

  • RL.5.3: Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).
  • RF.5.4: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • W.5.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • W.5.2a: Introduce a topic clearly, provide a general observation and focus, and group related information logically; include formatting (e.g., headings), illustrations, and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension
  • W.5.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • W.5.9: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
  • W.5.9a: Apply grade 5 Reading standards to literature (e.g., "Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or a drama, drawing on specific details in the text [e.g., how characters interact]").
  • L.5.1: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
  • I can plan and write an introductory paragraph for my essay. ( W.5.2a, W.5.4, W.5.9a )
  • I can recognize and write a complete sentence. ( L.5.1 )
  • Introduction to literary essay ( W.5.2a, W.5.4, W.5.9a )
  • Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart (see supporting materials).
  • Parts of Speech anchor chart (see supporting materials).
  • Parts of the Model Literary Essay Introductory Paragraph (one part per pair; see supporting materials). When possible, ensure the correct amount of parts to complete paragraphs. This may involve giving some students more than one part.
  • Literary Essay anchor chart by writing the title on a blank piece of chart paper (see supporting materials).
  • Thumb-O-Meter protocol. See Classroom Protocols.
  • Post: Learning targets and applicable anchor charts.

Tech and Multimedia

  • Work Time B: Students write their introductory paragraphs on a word processing document--for example, a Google Doc.

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards 5.I.A.4, 5.I.B.6, 5.I.C.9, 5.I.C.10, and 5.II.A.1

Important points in the lesson itself

  • The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs with opportunities to work closely with essay structure, building on their understanding one paragraph at a time. In this lesson, students focus exclusively on the introductions to their literary essays. Students continue to benefit from the color-coding system established in prior lessons for visual support.
  • ELLs may find it challenging to immediately apply their new learning about essay structure and write their introductions within the time allotted. If students were grouped in Lesson 11 to write their two-voice poems about the same event, continue working with that group during Work Time B today. See "Levels of support" and Meeting Students' Needs column for details.

Levels of support

For lighter support:

  • Before providing templates or additional modeling during Work Time B, observe student work and allow students to grapple. Provide supportive materials only after students have grappled with the task. Observe the areas in which they struggle to target appropriate support.
  • For additional work with complete sentences, invite intermediate and advanced proficiency students to create sentences and to write them on sentence strips in the manner described below. Students who need heavier support can work to identify the subjects and predicates of these sentences.

For heavier support:

  • During Work Time A, create color-coded sentence strips that students can manipulate as they discuss subject and predicate. Write the subject of each sentence in blue and the predicate of each sentence in red on separate strips. Invite students to scramble and unscramble them. Probe students' thinking about what makes each strip a subject or a predicate.
  • During Work Time B, provide a near-complete version of the introduction template suggested in the Meeting Students' Needs column. Omit only a few words, such as the chapter title and the names of the characters. Students can complete the paragraph as a cloze exercise while focusing on comprehending the paragraph and its purpose within the essay structure.
  • In preparation for performing their two-voice poem during the Closing and Assessment, provide time before the lesson for students to practice reading their two-voice poem. Support students by giving them feedback on their fluency and accuracy, and encouraging them on a job well done.
  • Multiple Means of Representation (MMR): In Work Time B, students write the introduction to their essay. This will require drawing on several tools, such as the Painted Essay(r) template, the model literary essay, and their Informative Writing Checklist. Whenever possible, use think-alouds and/or peer models to make this thought process explicit. For example, offer a think-aloud to show how to incorporate ideas from the model literary essay into an original paragraph. This way, students will not only see the model visually but will also be able to understand the thought processes behind it.
  • Multiple Means of Action and Expression (MMAE): This lesson provides 25 minutes of writing time. Some students may need additional support to build their writing stamina over such a long time period. Support students in building their stamina and focus by providing scaffolds that build an environment that is conducive to writing (see Meeting Students' Needs column).
  • Multiple Means of Engagement (MME): Students who need additional support with writing may have negative associations with writing tasks based on previous experiences. Help them feel successful with writing by allowing them to create feasible goals and celebrate when these goals are met. For instance, place a sticker or a star at a specific point on the page (e.g., two pages) that provides a visual writing target for the day. Also, construct goals for sustained writing by chunking the 30-minute writing block into smaller pieces. Provide choice for a break activity at specific time points when students have demonstrated writing progress. Celebrate students who meet their writing goals, whether it is length of the text or sustained writing time.

Key:  Lesson-Specific Vocabulary (L); Text-Specific Vocabulary (T); Vocabulary Used in Writing (W)

  • introductory paragraph, effective learners, collaboration, subject, noun, predicate (L)
  • Parts of the Model Literary Essay Introductory Paragraph (one part per pair)
  • Painted Essay(r) template (from Lesson 12; one per student)
  • Red, green, yellow, and blue colored pencils (one of each per student)
  • Model literary essay (from Lesson 12; one per student and one for display)
  • Literary Essay anchor chart (new; co-created with students during Opening A; see supporting materials)
  • Literary Essay anchor chart (example, for teacher reference)
  • Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart (new; co-created with students during Opening B)
  • Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart (example, for teacher reference)
  • Writing Complete Sentences handout (one per student and one to display)
  • Parts of Speech anchor chart (new; teacher-created; see supporting materials)
  • Informative Writing Checklist (from Lesson 12; one per student and one to display)
  • Informative Writing Checklist (example, for teacher reference)
  • Character Reaction note-catchers:
  • Character Reaction Note-catcher: "Las Cebollas" (from Lesson 1; one per student)
  • Character Reaction Note-catcher: "Las Ciruelas" (from Lesson 3; one per student)
  • Character Reaction Note-catcher: "Los Esparragos" (from Lesson 6; one per student)
  • Character Reaction Note-catcher: "Los Duraznos" (from Lesson 7; one per student)
  • Character reaction paragraphs:
  • Character Reaction Paragraph: Esperanza (from Lesson 1; group writing)
  • Character Reaction Paragraph: Hortensia (from Lesson 3; group writing)
  • Character Reaction Paragraph: Mama or Esperanza (from Lesson 3 homework; one per student)
  • Character Reaction Paragraph: Marta (from Lesson 6; group writing)
  • Character Reaction Paragraph: Esperanza or Josefina (from Lesson 6 homework; one per student)
  • Character Reaction Paragraph: Miguel (from Lesson 7; one per student)
  • Character Reaction Paragraph: Esperanza (from Lesson 8; one per student)
  • Partner Two-Voice Poem (from Lesson 11; one per pair)
  • Red markers (one per student)
  • Paper (lined; one piece per student)
  • Domain-Specific Word Wall (begun in Unit 1, Lesson 3)
  • Two-Voice Poems handout (from Lesson 11; one per student and one to display)

Each unit in the 3-5 Language Arts Curriculum has two standards-based assessments built in, one mid-unit assessment and one end of unit assessment. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize their understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.

Copyright © 2013-2024 by EL Education, New York, NY.

Get updates about our new K-5 curriculum as new materials and tools debut.

Help us improve our curriculum..

Tell us what’s going well, share your concerns and feedback.

Terms of use . To learn more about EL Education, visit  eleducation.org

Join my VIP teacher email club!

what is an explanatory essay 5th grade

When I look back to my first experience teaching five paragraph essays to fifth graders, I can remember how terribly unprepared I felt.

I knew that the five paragraph essay format was what my students needed to help them pass our state’s writing assessment but I had no idea where to start.

I researched the few grade-appropriate essays I could find online (these were the days before Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers) and determined that there was a structure to follow.

Every essay followed the same basic structure. I taught the structure to my students and they did well.

I have been teaching five paragraph essay structure and everything that goes with it for several years now. I hope that after you read this blog post, you will have a good understanding of how to teach and grade five paragraph essays.

Once you’ve learned all about teaching basic essay structure, you’ll be ready to grow your writers from “blah” to brilliant! 

Teaching five paragraph essays is just one part of teaching 5th grade writing. Click here to find out exactly how I teach writing to my 5th graders! 

Five paragraph essays - Start with simple paragraphs!

Start with Simple Paragraphs

We always start with simple paragraphs.

Yes, this is basic, but if your students cannot write excellent paragraphs, their five paragraph essays will be train wrecks. Trust me!

We spend a while cementing paragraph structure:

Topic Sentence

Closing Sentence

I give students topics, they come up with their own topics, we write together, they write with a partner or independently, the more variety, the better.

We have fun with simple paragraphs. Then, it’s time to move on to body paragraphs.

Five paragraph essays - organize and write body paragraphs

Organize and Write Body Paragraphs

Please refer to my five paragraph essay organizer below.

The three body paragraphs are absolutely crucial to the success of the five paragraph essay.

Some teachers have trouble teaching the structure of five paragraph essays because they start with the introduction paragraph.

Always teach the body paragraphs first!

what is an explanatory essay 5th grade

I had a teacher say to me once, “What’s the point of just writing parts of the essay? They need to write the entire five paragraphs to get all of the practice they need.”

I understand that point. However, think of it as building a house. Should you test out the foundation and make sure it’s sound and sturdy before building on top of it? Absolutely! That’s what we’re doing here.

The three body paragraphs are the foundation of the essay.

Ask students to write out their three body paragraphs just like they have practiced…Topic sentence…Detail 1…Detail 2…Detail 3…Closing Sentence.

I “ooooh and aaaah” over their three paragraphs. Students are on their way to five paragraph essays, so be sure to build their confidence.

Five paragraph essays - introduction paragraphs

Teach the Introduction Paragraph

I have to say, this is my favorite paragraph to teach. The introduction paragraph is what draws readers into the essay and makes them want to read more.

We start with what I call a “hook.” The hook captures the readers’ attention and can come in many forms: asking a question, making a bold statement, sharing a memory, etc.

After the hook, I ask students to add a sentence or two of applicable commentary about the hook or about the prompt in general.

Finally, we add the thesis sentence. The thesis sentence always follows the same formula: Restate the prompt, topic 1, topic 2, and topic 3.

That’s all you need to write an excellent introduction paragraph!

I do suggest having students write the introduction paragraph plus body paragraphs a couple of times before teaching the closing paragraph.

Five paragraph essays - teach the closing paragraph

Teach the Closing Paragraph

In the conclusion paragraph, we mainly focus on restating the thesis and including an engaging closing thought.

With my students, I use the analogy of a gift.

The introduction paragraph and body paragraphs are the gift and the conclusion paragraph is the ribbon that ties everything together and finishes the package.

When you talk about restating the thesis sentence, tell students that they need to make it sound different enough from their original thesis sentence to save their readers from boredom.

Who wants to read the same thing twice? No one!

Students can change up the format and wording a bit to make it fresh.

I enjoy teaching the closing thought because it’s so open to however students want to create it.

Ways to write the closing thought: ask a question, personal statement, call to action, or even a quote. 

I especially like reading the essays in which a quote is used as a closing thought or a powerful statement is used.

Example of a Five paragraph essays

Example of a full five paragraph essay

what is an explanatory essay 5th grade

Let’s Talk About Color-Coding!

Who doesn’t like to color? This is coloring with a purpose!

Training your students to color-code their paragraphs and essays will make grading so much easier and will provide reminders and reinforcements for students.

When students color-code their writing, they must think about the parts of their paragraphs, like topic sentences, details, and the closing sentence.

They will be able to see if they are missing something or if they’ve written something out of order.

Color-coding is a wonderful help for the teacher because you can skim to ensure that all parts of your students’ paragraphs and essays are present.

Also, when you are grading, you can quickly scan the paragraphs and essays. Trust me, you will develop a quick essay-grading ability.

I start color-coding with my students at the very beginning when they are working on simple paragraphs. I add the additional elements of the color-code as we progress through our five paragraph essays.

This is the code that I use:

what is an explanatory essay 5th grade

Let’s Talk About Grading Five Paragraph Essays!

Imagine a lonely, stressed teacher grading five paragraph essays on the couch while her husband is working the night shift.

That was me!

Seriously, guys, I would spend about ten minutes per essay. I marked every little error, I made notes for improvement and notes of encouragement. I reworked their incorrect structure.

Those papers were full of marks.

On Monday, I proudly brought back the essays and asked students to look over them and learn what they needed to fix for next time.

You can guess what happened… there were lots of graded essays in the trashcan at the end of the day.

Make grading five paragraph essays easier!

I decided that my grading practices had to change. I needed my weekends back and my students needed to find their own errors!

This is my best advice:

STOP correcting every error!

Your students are not benefiting from marks all over their writing. They need to find those errors themselves so that they will remember their mistakes and change their writing habits.

Do a quick scan of each student’s writing as soon as it’s turned in to you.

If there are major problems with a student’s writing, call him/her over individually and show him/her what needs to be fixed or put the student with a competent peer editor who will help them fix mistakes.

If you have several students who are struggling with a skill, like closing sentences, do a mini-lesson on this topic.

You can do a mini-lesson with a small group. However, I prefer doing mini-lessons with the entire class. The kids who need help will get it and the rest of your class will receive a refresher.

It’s OK if there are some small spelling/grammar mistakes!

If the errors are few and they don’t take away from the meaning/flow of the essay, I don’t worry about them.

Our students are still learning.

Even your brightest star writer will have a few spelling/grammar mistakes from time to time.

Don’t discourage students from writing because of small errors.

Students who receive papers back with markings all over them don’t think, “Oh boy, my teacher has made it so easy for me to make all of these corrections.” They are thinking, “What’s the point in writing? I must be a terrible writer. Look at all of these mistakes.”

If your students are taking a standardized writing assessment, the structure and flow of their essays will be worth much more than perfect spelling.

Need more help?

I created this five paragraph essay instructional unit for teachers who are new to teaching five paragraph essays OR just need all of the materials in one place.

“Teacher Talk” pages will guide you through the unit and this unit contains all materials needed to help students plan, organize, and write amazing five paragraph essays! Click here to check it out:

what is an explanatory essay 5th grade

I have a freebie for you! Enter your first name and email address below. You’ll receive three original prompts with five paragraph essay organizers AND two lined final draft pages!

Once your students are good essay writers…

These task cards will help your students stay sharp on their five paragraph essay knowledge. Students will review hooks (attention-getters), thesis sentences, body paragraphs, topic sentences, closings, and more. Each card contains a unique writing example!

I suggest using these task cards as a quiz/test, scoot game, individual review, or cooperative group activity.

Click on the image to view these task cards:

what is an explanatory essay 5th grade

To save this post for later, simply pin this image to your teacher Pinterest board!


Wow! I really enjoyed reading this. I’ve always stressed over the thought of teaching writing, but your blog makes me think I can do it successfully. Putting your writing packet on my TPT wish list!

Thank you, Shannon! I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment. I am so glad that my blog post was helpful to you!

Thanks for the tips! When I taught 6th grade I taught this same subject matter, but struggled to get started. I wish I had this then!

I appreciate your comment! Teaching was much different before Pinterest, wasn’t it?!?

This helped me so much!🙂 thanks a lot, I imagined being one student of yours. I’d be so smart and good at essays! Would’ve been so much easier in person❤️❤️❤️

Thank you so much, Aizlyn!

Thank you so much for this! May I ask where I can see the rubric for scoring the compositions?

You are so welcome! Click on the resource link. Then, you will see the rubric in the preview!

Thank you so much,I am a parent and this really helped me be clear how to guide my son. God bless you always.,

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

you are welcome!!!

This looks great! Looking forward to using your tips and freebies with my 6th graders. 🙂 THANK YOU.

You are so welcome! Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment!

Can’t wait to use this with my class tomorrow! Thanks a bunch for sharing!!

You are so welcome, Amy!

Thank you for making it easy to teach an essay with clarity.

You are very welcome, Yamuna! Thanks for taking the time to leave feedback 🙂

I am so happy I discovered your blog. I just started teaching grade 5 in September I have been searching for a simple method to hel me in guiding them in writing. I will be putting your method into practice in the coming week.

That’s wonderful, Cherry! Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Welcome to fifth grade 🙂

Beautiful lesson well explained! Thank you so very much .

Thank you so much, Cheryl!

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of follow-up comments by email.

Notify me of new posts by email.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

You may also enjoy...

what is an explanatory essay 5th grade

Science Safety Rules for 4th and 5th Graders

Teaching the American Revolution in Upper Elementary

Teaching the American Revolution

How to Teach the Civil Rights Movement in Upper Elementary

How to Teach the Civil Rights Movement (Upper Elementary)

Free online social studies resources from colonial williamsburg.

remote teaching - building relationships with students

5 Tips for Building Student Relationships Remotely

review games for 5th graders

Review Game Idea: Chance Pockets

What can i help you teach, find it here, let's connect, i'd love to connect with you.

Enter your first name and email address to join my exclusive VIP email club.

Copyright © 2020  | Thrive in Grade Five | All Rights Reserved

Quick Links

Teaching 5th Graders How to Write a Thesis Statement

what is an explanatory essay 5th grade

Our 5th-grade students write a 5 paragraph research paper about their choice of topics related to Ancient Egypt.  Some of my students are writing about Egyptian pyramids, Egyptian Gods, and one has undertaken the task of writing about the role of Egyptian women in religion.  All students are required to write “thin questions,” or questions that can be answered easily and with a fact, to get their minds going and then use their new knowledge to write a “thick question,” or overarching research question from which their thesis will be derived.

I can’t stress enough the importance of modeling how to write a thesis statement.   Model, model, model.   Bring in past students’ work, write your own thesis in front of them, do the thesis statement sheet (available below) with them a few times.  Go slowly for each step.   The idea isn’t getting your students to finish the thesis statement quickly, the idea is for them to learn how to craft their own argument and write it clearly.  

In order to help them through the process of getting from thin question to thick question to thesis I used several sources to develop my own version of “Write a Thesis Statement in 5 Steps.”  I was able to conference with students in small groups to help them look at their thick questions and their notes to develop a “because statement” for each of their papers.  Once they had a “because statement,” students had to prove it using three facts from their notes.  The next step and hardest step was synthesizing the question, the because statement, and the facts to write the thesis that will ultimately drive their body paragraphs and conclusion.

If you would like to use the “Write a Thesis Statement in 5 Steps” sheet, thesis statement in 5 steps .  It is free, but if you do use it please tell me how it went!


Share this:

  • Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)

CherylAnne Amendola


  1. How-To Essay: Multi-Draft Explanatory Writing for Grade 5 (CCSS)

    what is an explanatory essay 5th grade

  2. How To Write An Explanatory Essay

    what is an explanatory essay 5th grade

  3. Explanatory Essay Topics For 5th Graders

    what is an explanatory essay 5th grade

  4. Explanatory Essay Example

    what is an explanatory essay 5th grade

  5. How to Write an Explanatory Essay: Guide With Examples

    what is an explanatory essay 5th grade

  6. Explanatory Essay: A Comprehensive Guide at Trust My Paper

    what is an explanatory essay 5th grade


  1. Developing Expository, Explanatory, Persuasive Paragraphs || Grade 8 English Quarter 4 Week 7

  2. Descriptive writing grade5

  3. Essay on HEALTH

  4. Explanatory Essay

  5. Explanatory Essay: Introductory Paragraph

  6. Constructing a Scatter Plot Between Response and Explanatory Data


  1. 7+ Explanatory Essay Examples That Get the Best Grades

    Writing explanatory essays is hard, even for experienced scholars. In this post, I want to try to tackle the major challenges students face when writing this type of essay, using examples of successful essays. These challenges include: Struggling to come up with the right idea. (solution: brainstorming techniques) Difficulty in organizing the ...

  2. PDF Grade 5 Informative/Explanatory Writing Standard W.5

    Standard W.5.2 Grade 5 Approaching. Jack/Poetry. Love that dog by Sharon Creech is a book about a boy named. Jack. Jack's class are assigned to write poems. In the beginning of the book Jack hate's reading. and writing poetry,but by the end of the book Jack likes and under stands poetry.

  3. How to Write an Explanatory Essay: Topics, Outline, Example

    Provide clear explanations: When writing an explanatory article, it's important to explain complex concepts clearly and concisely. Use simple language and avoid technical jargon. For example, if you're explaining the process of photosynthesis, you might use diagrams and visual aids to help illustrate your points.

  4. 15 Engaging Explanatory Writing Prompts

    The following prompts are meant for high-school level writers. Students may need to research the topics in order to respond with sufficient depth and complexity. 11. Addressing Cyberbullying. Cyberbullying involves using technology to harm, intimidate, and embarrass others.

  5. Informative/Explanatory Writing in the Classroom, Grades 3-12

    Student practice for informative writing and explanatory writing. Informative Writing Kit. ... Show Grade Ranges: ELA K-5 ELA 6-8 ELA 9-12. April 23, ... To help students choose a holiday for an explanatory essay, you could provide them with a list. Some common holidays follow: Halloween; Thanksgiving;

  6. 23 Writing Explanatory Essays

    Sample Explanatory Essay. Have student volunteers read the sample explanatory essay, one paragraph at a time. Then review the essay with your class, pointing out the features listed in the side notes. Show how the writer begins by introducing the topic and leading to the focus statement. You can also present other explanatory essays.

  7. 5th Grade Expository Writing Prompts

    5th Grade Expository Writing Prompts. Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction. Fifth graders can be very independent writers, but ...

  8. PDF Informative/Explanatory Writing Checklist: Grade 5

    Developed by Educational Performance Consultants. Design inspired by the work of Lucy Calkins' Units of Study. Name: _____ Date: _____

  9. PDF Informative/Explanatory Example Essays Grades 5-6

    Essay scores are produced for the following grade ranges: 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, and 11-12. Thus a fifth grade essay is compared to models for both fifth and sixth grades. Prompt for Essays 1-3: Describe an activity that you like to do in your free time. Explain what about this activity makes it something you choose to do. Use examples and ...

  10. PDF 5th Grade Informative/Explanatory Writing Rubric

    5-6 = Meets 4 = Approaching < 4 = Below (Organization & Structure) W.5.2a W.5.2e The writing: clearly introduces the topic in an engaging way that draws the reader in; provides a central idea and focus for the piece. creates an organizational structure in which related information is logically grouped in a compelling way.

  11. 5th Grade Expository Section 1: Lesson 1

    LIKE and SUBSCRIBE with NOTIFICATIONS ON if you enjoyed the video! đź‘ŤEach lesson will have the following: Animated lessons Teacher led video lessons (New ...

  12. 5th grade nonfiction writing samples

    Fifth grade writing sample #1. Bipolar Children. This student's report starts with a decorative cover and a table of contents. The report has eight sections, each clearly labeled with a bold subhead, and includes a bibliography. At the end, this student adds three visuals, two images from the internet with handwritten captions and a related ...

  13. How to Write A 5th Grade Level Essay

    Further, fifth graders need to support their claims and ideas with factual information, conveying information clearly, and writing narratives in a logical order. There are four basic types of prompts for fifth grade students: narrative, persuasive, expository, and creative writing. Narrative Essay

  14. PDF GRADE 5 2022 B.E.S.T. Writing

    Grade 5 2022 B.E.S.T. Writing. Writing Prompt. Write an expository essay about why grasslands are important. Your expository essay must be based on this prompt and topic, and it must incorporate ideas and information found in the sources provided. Use your best writing to complete an essay that is focused on your central idea;

  15. Writing a Literary Essay: Introduction

    W.5.9a: Apply grade 5 Reading standards to literature (e.g., "Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or a drama, drawing on specific details in the text [e.g., how characters interact]"). L.5.1: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

  16. PDF Grade 5 B.E.S.T. Writing Sample Test Materials

    respond to either an expository prompt or to an argumentative prompt. An example of a text-based writing prompt for each grade is available for practice. To familiarize students with the response formats, teachers may encourage students to practice with each type of prompt within a grade band.

  17. 51 Great Expository Writing Prompts for 5th Grade Students

    Expository Writing Prompts for 5th Grade. 1. Explain the benefits of mastering a few good study skills. 2. Tell why fifth graders should be allowed to choose their own seats in the cafeteria. 3. Outline some ways that people can do more to keep the earth clean. 4. Explain the benefits of having a classroom job.

  18. Five Paragraph Essays

    We always start with simple paragraphs. Yes, this is basic, but if your students cannot write excellent paragraphs, their five paragraph essays will be train wrecks. Trust me! We spend a while cementing paragraph structure: Topic Sentence. Detail #1. Detail #2. Detail #3. Closing Sentence.

  19. PDF Grade&5& Expository&and&Opinion&Writing&&

    Grade&5& Expository&and&Opinion&Writing&& Deconstructing&Text,&Writing&Essays,&Reports,&Response&to&Text&! & ... additional main ideas for an expository piece about Italy. On another sheet of paper, write main idea sentences based on your research. Student Page 170

  20. PDF Grade 5 Writing Exemplars with Annotations

    Grade 5 ELA Writing - Informational BACKGROUND and PURPOSE . The WY-TOPP ELA test has a Writing portion for grades 3, 5, 7, and 9. Each writing test contains one or more passages that relate to a prompt. Students are required to read passages associated with a topic, and then write a response based on a prompt. This type of text-based

  21. PDF Grade 5 2018 FSA ELA Writing Scoring Sampler

    The Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) English Language Arts (ELA) Writing Scoring Sampler can be used as a resource for Florida educators, schools, and districts regarding the scoring of student responses on the writing component of the statewide ELA assessments. Each spring, students in grades 4-10 are administered a passage set and a text ...

  22. 21 Explanatory Essay Topics for Students » JournalBuddies.com

    Write an essay explaining why you feel that is the best role to take on in the classroom. Describe the events that led to the American Revolution. Write an essay describing how your generation is perceived by others. Be sure to include fact-based reasons as to why you feel your generation is perceived this way.

  23. Teaching 5th Graders How to Write a Thesis Statement

    Model, model, model. Bring in past students' work, write your own thesis in front of them, do the thesis statement sheet (available below) with them a few times. Go slowly for each step. The idea isn't getting your students to finish the thesis statement quickly, the idea is for them to learn how to craft their own argument and write it ...