I’ve posted before about highlighting essays to help students see the structure. It’s a great exercise to have students reverse outline an essay by highlighting key information like the thesis statement, topic sentences, examples and conclusions. Then the key structural elements of the essay will literally jump off the page at them.
Here’s an essay I wrote to show students the structure of a compare and contrast essay. I was getting tired of reading body paragraphs like this:
Dogs are more friendly than cats. Cats are very independent and they don’t need people. So they are not as friendly. On the other hand, dogs like people and always want to be around them. So I think friendly people like dogs and unfriendly people like cats.
I really wanted them to see how ideas connect to each other. And I wanted them to include evidence for their claims including sub-topics and examples. So the essay is a bit dense because it also serves as a model of how to develop strong supporting points and link paragraphs. So without further ado, a sample essay for your students perusal: