How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement for a Student Essay

Here is a simple process students can use to write an effective thesis statement for their next essay. A thesis statement questionnaire is provided as well

Middle school students need ample guidance when learning to write a thesis statement for their essays. Many students find it easier to develop an outline or graphic organizer depicting the content of their essay before composing their thesis statement. This backwards approach can be very helpful to students who struggle with capturing their essay's purpose into a single thesis statement.

Develop an Essay Outline or Graphic Organizer

In this lesson, the teacher has assigned the following essay topic: Describe a favorite vacation and explain why it has been selected. Before composing a thesis statement, students should determine their favorite vacation and list three reasons why this is their favorite vacation. Students can write this information in an outline format or a graphic organizer. If students choose a graphic organizer, they can write their favorite vacation in a box in the center of the page.

Then, for each reason, students should identify one specific example for that reason which helps bring the information alive for the reader. These examples can be written in the outline. If a graphic organizer is used, students can write the example in a box below each reason. To help identify key components of the essay, students may want to color-code their reasons and examples, selecting the ones for which they can supply the most details.

Write the Thesis Statement

Once students have identified the three key reasons why a specific vacation is their favorite, they have narrowed down the content of the essay. Now, they can prepare to write their thesis statement. The thesis should be an arguable claim that states the purpose of the essay. That is, a thesis should be an opinion that can be argued with facts and details throughout the body of the essay.

The thesis statement responding to the above topic should include the name of the favorite vacation as well as list three reasons why the writer considers this a favorite. Because it should present the reasons supporting the claim, the thesis statement will be a fairly long sentence; for this reason, students should take care to avoid writing a run-on sentence by using proper punctuation. Further, it should intrigue readers by presenting a passionate perspective that is supported by details.

Revise Thesis Statement With Checklist

Students can use the following thesis statement questionnaire to serve as a checklist after writing their thesis statement to ensure all components are present.

  1. Does the thesis respond directly to your prompt or topic?
  2. Does it contain a definite statement?
  3. Is it an arguable claim?
  4. Does it show the writer has knowledge about the topic?
  5. Does it illustrate a passionate perspective?
  6. Is it specific enough to tackle in a five paragraph essay?
  7. Is it broad enough to invite discussion with readers?
  8. Will it incite interest in the reader?
  9. Does it list the key points to be discussed in the essay?
  10. Can evidence be provided to back up the thesis?

If they have written strong, effective thesis statements, students should be able to answer "yes" to all of these questions.

Writing a thesis statement can be challenging. Students need to understand whether they are writing an expository or persuasive essay and modify the tone of the thesis accordingly. Students must remember to make a claim that can be argued as well as provide clear reasons that will be developed throughout the body of the essay. By using the thesis statement questionnaire, students can ensure their thesis is effective. The next step is writing the body of the essay.

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