Satisfying Endings

Nov 4, 2009 by

Writing Trait/Strategy:


Mentor Text Suggestions:


A conclusion that leaves a final impression on the reader is just as important as an attention-grabbing lead. Students fall into traps with conclusions just as they do with leads. When students don’t know how to end a story, they will wind up saying something like:

  • “And then I went home and went to bed.”
  • “That is the end of my story.”
  • “I hope you liked my story.”
  • “I woke up and it was all a dream.”

To help them avoid these traps, teach the following techniques, first by introducing them, then by reading examples from mentor texts, and finally by having students practice writing story conclusions. Often an author will use more than one of these in a conclusion.

  • Recount a memory of the main event
  • Share a lesson the character has learned as a result of his/her experience
  • Describe an emotion the main character is feeling regarding something that happened in the story
  • Tell a decision the main character has made as a result of the experience
  • Share the character’s hope or wish for the future

As students are just learning these techniques, many find it helpful to use sentence starters:

  • It was then that I realized…
  • From now on, I know I will never…
  • The next time…
  • As I looked ____, I remembered…
  • I decided that from now on I…
  • I can still feel…
  • From that day on, I decided…
  • I hope that next time…

Student Samples

My mom thought I just sprained my ankle. Two days later she took me to the doctor and found out it was broke. I hope I never do that again.                                                  by Zach


After I had a nice luxurious bath I sipped a mug of hot cocoa. I had a fearsome flashback of the frightening, roaring waterfall. I would never go canoeing there again. I hope the rivers I canoed on in the future were not popping up with unexpected waterfalls in the future. I was so glad for my quick thinking. But…I think I was going to lay off canoeing for awhile.

                                            by Elisabeth


As I rode back under the twinkling stars, I vowed I would remember the dragon forever. I regretted how I had been scared of him. Now he was gone. The only thing I had left of him was the magic of friendship.

                                               by Chelsea