Teach Your Students To Plan an Essay

    Determine what to write about. This is the subject of the essay. For younger children, determining the topic is sufficient, while for older children and college students, it is necessary to refine it to a thesis or dissertation acknowledgements.
    Identify the reason for writing. Students should be able to identify the reason why they are writing their essay, whether it is prompted by something they have read or motivated by something that has happened.
    Know what the deadline is. Essays and most written assignments are usually expected to be done in a specified period of time. Understanding how much time is available is the first step in planning how to best use your time.
    Meet the audience for this essay. Students must understand who will read what they write and how to direct their message to that audience. Students must be aware of the current knowledge of their audience on the subject, their opinions and how to inform and convince them.
    Understand the purpose of the essay. Students need to understand whether the essay serves to present information on a single topic or a group of related topics or to make a persuasive argument.


    • Initially, the topic options should be fairly restricted as students learn the mechanics of writing an essay. At the beginning all students must write on the same topic, then they are offered two or three options, then a list of proposed topics and, at the end, complete freedom. However, the topics they can choose from must be in their areas of interest.