Satisfying Endings

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Writing Trait/Strategy: 
Organization; Endings

Mentor Text Suggestions:

Description:
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 of Revised Endings:

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