Sample Paragraph--a person of influence
Notice that the paragraph does not begin with an announcement. DO NOT MAKE AN ANNOUNCEMENT IN YOUR TOPIC SENTENCE BY SAYING, "The most influential person in my life has been..." Instead, you should reveal through descriptive details from your personal experiences, how a specific person has impacted your life for better or for worse.
The topic sentence in the following sample paragraph might be, "My mother guided me through the reading process and encouraged me by letting me know that there is a way to combat each obstacle."
My Mother Was One Of The Great Ones
My mother was a first grade teacher. In the summer, just prior to starting first grade, my mother handed me a book called Frog and Toad Are Friends, by Arnold Lobel. She told me to stand up and place the book on the ironing board where she was ironing clothes. “You see that?” She said, pointing to the picture, “That’s a frog,” she said, pointing to the green amphibian, “and that’s a toad,” she said, pointing to the brownish creature. “The title of the book is Frog and Toad Are Friends,” she said, as she ran her hand slowly beneath the title on the book’s cover. Then my mother pointed to a banner above the title. “You see that?” She said, looking down at me. I nodded. “It says, ‘An I can read book…’that means you can read it.” Mom gave me a look that was encouraging. At five years old, I had never read a whole book by myself, but I believed her, I believed that I could read this book because she said so. Mom had taught me that letters make different sounds, and when you put letters together, they make even more sounds, and when you string them together even further they make words. Now she taught me how string of words made sentences. I followed Mom’s finger beneath the words, and together, we read the first page of Frog and Toad Are Friends. She proceeded to teach me to sound the tough words out and to use the illustrations for clues if I really got stuck. That afternoon, I finished the first section of Frog and Toad Are Friends. Later, I used what I had learned in the first section of the book to read the next section. I have never forgotten that lesson. My mom broke things down for me in language that I could understand. She took into account my prior knowledge of words and sounds. She made me believe that I could read even before we opened the book. She guided me through the reading process and encouraged me by letting me know that there is a way to combat each obstacle. As a result, I began to read on my own.