What is a closing sentence?
A closing sentence is a sentence that concludes the paragraph and is centered on the main idea. In first learning about closing sentences, it’s best to introduce how the topic sentence relates and can be restated as a closing sentence.
While writing the closing sentence for the first time, it is best to focus on the main idea, restate the topic sentence, have plenty of examples to practice, and learn different transitional words and phrases.
Let’s look at the best way to introduce closing sentences to students who are writing their first paragraphs.
Relate the topic and introduce closing sentences
To give true weight to the meaning of the closing sentence, it’s important to know how the topic and closing sentences are related. Just as students understand how to relate addition to subtraction, we can do the same while teaching the topic and closing sentences. Let me explain why.
In math, a fact family has two parts and a whole that relate and can be used in addition and subtraction sentences. We know that if a+b=c and b+a=c, then it is known that c-a=b and c-b=a. The parts and whole can be strategically moved around to build a number sentence, just like the words that make up the main idea may be restated within different sentences. We will do the same with the topic and closing, with the main idea being like parts and a whole.
During my years of teaching first grade writing, I’ve found that teaching closing sentences immediately after writing the topic sentences helps students more fully understand paragraph structure. This helps students to hold off thinking about the detailed supporting sentences, and that’s a good thing in this instance.
Let’s back up a little. It’s so very important for young writers to identify the keywords within the main idea. As in the example of the jelly toast writing, the keywords are basically make and jelly toast. These words must be found with the writing and recognized as exclusive to the main idea. You can read about the jelly toast writing in the post about teaching topic sentences by clicking here.
For this reason, it’s best to teach topic and closing sentences before the supporting detail sentences. Understanding these two kinds of sentences and their relationship will only strengthen students’ writings.
Main idea focus
Main ideas and details go together, though let’s not get too deep into the details just yet.
That’s usually how young students will want to start their paragraph writings. They will begin their first sentence telling about the main idea without introducing their topics, let alone conclusions.
Let’s look at a real-life example. Imagine getting a phone call without a “Hello, how are you?” The caller goes straight into what they wanted to talk about with you. It might go a little something like this:
[Phone rings. We pick up.]
Them: First, we looked to the left. Then, we looked to the right. Next, we look to the left once more. Last, we cross the street.
Us: Uh, who is this?-example of a phone call with no introduction
Now that is an example of a first grader writing their first paragraphs without proper guidance.
They don’t realize the reader needs to have an introduction to their topic. And if they don’t understand the importance of a proper introduction, they’ll never come to a different conclusion to write other than “The end”.
Beginning writers are well on their way to writing supporting sentences, though maybe not with the details we teachers hope for. That will be the lesson following our teaching to introduce closing sentences.
Let’s move on to the easiest way to teach students to write their first paragraph with a closing sentence.
Restate the topic
The best and most simple way to teach first grade students how to write their first closing sentences is by rephrasing the topic sentence. This lesson in itself does the most effective job to teach relating the topic and closing sentences with the main idea. Let’s look at how to teach this concept.
- Determine the keywords within the main idea. Let’s say the main idea is how to make jelly toast, then the keywords are the words make and jelly toast.
- Write a simple topic sentence. The most simple topic sentence for this main idea would be… This is how to make jelly toast. If you’d rather, you could start with others such as, Let me show you how to make jelly toast or I’m going to tell you how to make jelly toast. Just remember, whichever you begin with is how you will construct your closing sentence.
- Write a simple closing sentence. This is where we will rephrase the topic sentence, going from this to that. When using This is how… change it to That is how I make jelly toast. If you used one of the others mentioned before, you could still use this same closing sentence. If you’d like, use Now you know how to make jelly toast or Now you can make your own jelly toast.
Examples to practice
Here are some example topic sentences that can be transformed into closing sentences.
Being that this will be a student’s first time learning to add closing sentences to their paragraphs, let’s scaffold the learning by starting with teacher modeling.
Look for the keywords relating to the main idea. Start by simply restating the topic sentences. Then, try to use any of the transition words listed below to write a more challenging closing sentence.
- My favorite season of the year is winter.
- This is how I get dressed to play in the rain.
- I enjoy spending time with my grandparents.
- I think dogs make the best kind of house pet.
- Here’s the way to make the best sundae ever!
- Firefighters are very important in a community.
- If I could redo our playground, this is what I’d do.
- Garrett Morgan was an important American inventor.
- The best vacation is going to the beach with my family.
- Let me tell you about the time I changed my mind about something.
Try writing closing sentences together as a class, and then in small groups with teacher guidance. Lastly, students will restate the topic sentences as closing sentences on their own. Remember to provide feedback, remediation, and enrichment to students as needed in all the stages of gradual release.
Transition words and phrases for closing sentences
First grade learning standards expect students to learn and use transition in their writings.
It’s important to have a list of transitions available to students. Not all first graders can read a list of transitional words or phrases, so it’s good practice to teach and display the words. Display the words for all to see upon the board or on a poster.
It’s also handy to include a printable list of transitions in student folders that stay at school or go back and forth between home and school.
For digital learning, share a viewable link to the document for parents in an email or within the school online LMS or VLE (learning management system or virtual learning environment), like Google Classroom, Moodle, Schoology, or Microsoft Teams for Education.
Having a list for parents to see will show them transitional words their child is expected to learn in first grade.
Here’s a list of easy transitions to introduce closing sentences appropriate for beginning writers. Choose one or two to introduce, and then add one at a time to the list for young students to try when they are ready.
- In the end
- At last
- As you can see
- After all
- To sum up
- In conclusion
- Maybe one day
- Next time
- Before long
Introduce other kinds of closing sentences
I like it, I love it, I want some more of it! Tell your students to describe how near and dear the main idea was for them to share with others in their writing.
Here are some closing sentence examples to share with your budding writers.
- Make sure to try this new game today.
- I can’t wait to go sledding again next winter.
- I hope you enjoyed learning how I like to make my pizza.
- It’s my most favorite thing to do during this time of the year.
- You will love it if you get the chance to go to Niagara Falls someday.
- Now you know the reasons I think chocolate is the best ice cream flavor.
Closing sentence resources
If you’re in need of some digital or printable resources to help you introduce closing sentences to beginning writers, you can find all of the resources you see here and more in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.