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three elementary students working on writing together

Framed Paragraphs

Framed paragraphs are pre-writing tools that help students write well-developed paragraphs. They are skeleton formats containing information about the main ideas and transition words that guide the organization and the development of supportive details. Framed paragraphs offer a structure for students to use as they begin to write paragraphs and essays.

Key Information



Appropriate Group Size

With small groups
Whole class setting

Why use framed paragraphs?

  • It provides a framework for writing strong paragraphs
  • The frame guides students by providing the transitional phrases for sentences
  • It can incorporate various sentence types: long and short, simple and complex.

How to use framed paragraphs

  1. Discuss how to write a framed paragraph by using:
    • A topic sentence — a general statement or opinion
    • Three to five examples that develop the topic or opinion
    • Transitions when needed
    • A summary sentence at the end
  2. Provide students with a blank frame.
  3. Ask students fill in the missing portions of the frame to write a complete paragraph.
  4. Encourage students to incorporate a variety of sentences: long and short, simple and complex.
examples of paragraph frames for elementary student writing

Download blank template

There are many ways to create a frame for a paragraph. This simple template helps children summarize what they learned from their reading.

Collect resources

Language Arts

This example of a framed paragraph centers on Holidays and provides additional space for students to re-write the completed paragraph. See example ›


This site includes an example of using a framed paragraph for writing a description about decimals. See example ›

Social Studies

This example shows how teachers can use a writing frame to develop a “compare” and “contrast” essay. See example ›

English Language Learners

Support academic language conversation with sentence frames. Watch classroom video and get supporting materials › (opens in a new window) (Teaching Channel)

Differentiated instruction

For second language learners, students of varying reading skill, and younger learners

  • Vary the amount of information you provide in the frame. Some students may require lots of transition words for sentences, others will need very few.
  • Model the frame paragraph strategy with a text that is familiar to students before asking them to complete it on their own.
  • Some students may enjoy making their own frame for something they’ve read. Students could pair up, write their own frames, and then trade texts and frames and complete the new frame.

See the research that supports this strategy

Ellis, E. S. (1998). Framing Main Ideas and Essential Details to Promote Comprehension.

Sejnost, R., & Thiese, S. (2007). Reading and Writing Across Content Areas 2nd Ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Children’s books to use with this strategy

Topics this strategy is especially helpful for