1. Spend time helping students to dissect writing prompts, showing different forms and examples.
2. Teach the key Writing Direction Words most often used in writing prompts.
3. Teach students to “borrow” as many of the words as possible from the writing prompt and include these in the thesis statement. Doing this assures the writer and reader that the essay is directly responding to the writing prompt. Additionally, using the same words flatters the writer of the prompt. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
4. Practice thesis turn-around in which you provide writing prompts in the form of questions that students must convert into declarative thesis statements.
5. Teach and have students practice a variety of introduction strategies to use for both informational and persuasive essays.
6. Teach transition words and help students practice these throughout the introductory paragraph.
7. Help students re-word their thesis statements, using different grammatical sentence openers, for their thesis re-statements at the beginning of conclusion paragraphs.
8. Constantly remind students that a thesis statement is part of exposition–not the narrative form. No “hooks” or “leads” as part of thesis statements.