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three elementary students working on writing together

Framed Paragraphs

Framed paragraphs are a structured writing tool that provides a framework or scaffold to help students develop their writing skills by providing a clear structure for organizing sentences and ideas.

Key Information



Appropriate Group Size

With small groups
Whole class setting

What are 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.

Why use framed paragraphs?

  • They provide a framework for writing strong paragraphs.
  • The frame guides students by providing the transitional phrases for sentences.
  • They can incorporate various sentence types: long and short, simple and complex.
  • Framed paragraphs are particularly helpful for your English language learners.

How to use framed paragraphs

  1. Discuss how to write a framed paragraph. It should include the following elements:
    • 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 your students with a blank frame.
  3. Ask your students fill in the missing portions of the frame to write a complete paragraph.
  4. Encourage your students to incorporate a variety of sentences: long and short, simple and complex.

Watch a lesson (whole class, English learners) 

A second grade math teacher uses sentence frames to support her English learners. (Teaching Channel)

Watch a teacher talk (English learners)

Sheila Madji explains what a sentence frame is and how she might use this strategy with ELLs. (Colorín Colorado)

Watch a demonstration

Here are three tips to help your K-2 students learn to write complete, strong sentences. (Learning at the Primary Pond)

Collect resources

Download blank template

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

Differentiate 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.

Use across the content areas


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

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