Teaching the Thesis Statement: Tips and Resources for Secondary ELA

Teaching the Thesis Statement: Tips and Resources for Secondary ELA

Writing can be such an elusive skill to master for learners of all ages and skill levels, and one that can also be challenging to teach as well. One of the best pieces of advice about teaching writing I give teachers is to break up the process into chunks or manageable steps that allow students to master and feel comfortable with each step and feel confident enough to move on. This also helps teachers intervene early in the learning process and reteach where necessary.

With writing instruction, a good place to start is the thesis statement. The thesis statement is the backbone of any academic writing. Without it, all the writing just falls to the floor. Without it, there is no direction, no organization, just a pile of parts scattered everywhere. That may be an exaggeration, but the point is that the thesis statement is a vital part of any academic writing, and students need lessons and instruction that can take something abstract and make it concrete.

A few tips on thesis statements:

Teaching the Thesis Statement: Tips and Resources for Secondary ELA
  • A thesis statement needs to be strong. Like the spine, it needs to be strong enough to hold up the whole essay, the enormous weight of the writer’s ideas, voice, and tone.
  • A thesis statement needs to be clear and precise. A good thesis statement is direct and clearly states the direction of the paper. It does not leave the reader guessing as to what to expect in the rest of the essay. It fulfills what the reader needs: direction.
  • A thesis statement needs to be an arguable and debatable statement that the author defends and proves in the body of the essay.

Resources for teaching thesis statement writing

To help teachers with writing instruction, the thesis statement, and the introduction, in particular, I created several products that are perfect for middle grades and high school classrooms.

Thesis Statement and Introduction

In the Thesis Statement and Introduction Writing Unit, both digital AND print versions of the resources are provided, including Google Slides and PowerPoint presentations with 23 animated, color-coded, and engaging slides that offer writing examples, both good and bad. In addition to that, teachers are provided with additional resources (both Google Docs and PDF) including individual and group activities and practice, thesis statement worksheets, thesis statement organizers, guided essay introduction outline, and student reference guides. If you’d like just the digital version for distance learning, check it out here. If you’d like just the print version for distance learning, check it out here.

Looking for more? Check out these other TPT resources!


If you’re looking for tips on teaching essay writing, check out 3 Tips for Teaching Writing. There you’ll find even more advice and resources to help you in the classroom!

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