Graphic Organizers for Essay Prewriting

by Jimmie Lanley

Research shows that students who do prewriting exercises write better essays. While many children can make their own mind maps and outlines on blank paper, other students find the framework of a graphic organizer helpful. I created three different layouts for prewriting an essay. Each one assumes the standard structure of three main ideas (three body paragraphs).

Once your children internalize the graphic organizers, they can create their own impromptu forms on blank paper.

Prewriting the Essay Graphic Organizer 2

Prewriting the Essay Graphic Organizer 2

These graphic organizers could also be used to analyze sample essays when teaching essay writing. In a peer editing session, students would switch papers and deconstruct the essay with one of these layouts. A well written essay should be easy to outline on any of these graphic organizers. It it is not easy, then the essay likely has some structural problems.

Essay Graphic Organizer 3

Essay Graphic Organizer 3

As always, I love to hear when you use the free printables from The Notebooking Fairy in your homeschool. If you send me photos, I will feature you in a Show Off post.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Beverly Thomas October 21, 2012 at 11:10 AM

I teach grammar and writing and sometimes get to a point of what do I do next to keep their interest.


Helen Stein February 7, 2013 at 7:38 PM

I just discovered your website. Thank you so much for all of these fantastic graphic organizers!!!
I am a teacher of gifted first, second and third graders. Is there a way of attaching documents here or emailing them to you so I can share some items I have created?
:o) Helen


Claire May 7, 2013 at 8:16 AM

Thanks Jimmie. We’ve just used these successfully for the first time as an alternative way to spider diagrams and key word outlines. I want to introduce the children to as many prewriting methods as possible so they can find one that suits their individual needs.


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