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Guided Practice

In each sample paragraph below, one or more strategies are used to introduce or conclude an essay concerning the topic "a favorite vacation." Read the paragraphs. Then click on one or more possible strategies listed after the paragraph. After you have identified the correct strategies, then click on DISCUSSION to read a brief discussion about the strategies used to develop the paragraph.

1. Introductory Paragraph:

I have traveled to many countries. The first country I visited when I was young was Mexico. Since I grew up in California, this was the closest foreign country. I remember seeing many poor dark-skinned people there with beautiful eyes. While we were there, my father bought me a doll in Mexican clothes that I still have today. This was the beginning of my travel experiences. I have had mostly wonderful vacations in foreign countries. However, my favorite place was Ghana, West Africa, because of the opportunities to visit my family, the hospitable people, and the exotic environment.

    Possible Strategies

         Broad to narrow.
         Shift in expectations
         Background information.
         Questions/quotations.
    Discussion.
CORRECT! This is one of two strategies used.
INCORRECT. Try again.
CORRECT! This is one of two strategies used.
INCORRECT. Try again.
Discussion: The strategies used are broad to narrow and background information. The essay begins with 'I have traveled to many countries,' and the thesis focuses on one particular country, Ghana. In addition, the writer's background relating her first foreign travelling experience is recounted. Both of these ideas eventually lead to the writer's recognition of Ghana being her favorite experience and set up the expectation that she will explain why this was her favorite.

2. Concluding Paragraph:

Therefore, traveling to Ghana was the best experience I've ever had. I was able to return to Ghana again in 1994 for three months. Again, the hospitality was wonderful, and I was able to explore the northern areas of Ghana. If you would like a truly unique vacation experience, I would definitely recommend that you visit Ghana. It would probably become your favorite vacation spot also.

    Possible Strategies

         Recall of subpoints.
         Lessons learned.
         Future concerns.
         Broad to narrow.
    Discussion.
Recall of subpoints: INCORRECT. Try again.
Lessons learned: INCORRECT. Try again.
Future concerns: CORRECT!
Questions/quotations: INCORRECT. Try again.
Discussion: The strategy used is future concerns. After the restatement of the thesis, this concluding paragraph concerns the future. It relates another return trip which happened after the trip recounted in the essay, and it includes a recommendation for the future travels of readers.

3. Introductory Paragraph:

After I graduated from college, two of my best friends moved to Brownsville, Texas, to work as teachers in a Deaf program. Brownsville, Texas, is very near the Mexican-American border. One Christmas, I decided to go visit my friends in Texas and we traveled into Mexico. While it was lovely to visit with my old friends again, our trip into Mexico turned out to be the worst. We ate the wrong food and were sick almost the whole time. Later, we had many hassles at the border. Yet I did not stop travelling. Although I've traveled from Australia to Russia, Ghana in West Africa remains my favorite place for several important reasons.

    Possible Strategies

         Broad to narrow.
         Shift in expectations.
         Background information.
         Questions/quotations.
    Discussion.
Broad to narrow: INCORRECT. Try again.
Shift in expectations: CORRECT! This is one of two strategies used..
Background information: CORRECT! This is one of two strategies used.
Questions/quotations: INCORRECT. Try again.
Discussion: The strategies used in this introductory paragraph are shift in expectation and background information. The reader should note the great change in the direction of the background story. While the story about traveling to Mexico was described as 'the worst,' the essay is aiming at an experience which was the most favored. One may add that there also is an element of broad to narrow, but the choice of that strategy alone is not acceptable in terms of being able to read the strongest approach used by the writer.

4. Concluding Paragraph:

As you can see, Ghana offers travelers many wonderful experiences. I learned how to accept hospitality, how to avoid eating things I didn't dare try, and how to ask for help in negotiating cultural boundaries. Some of the things I learned in Ghana I was surprised to find were helpful to me when I returned home. Thus, traveling can be a wonderful way to learn about another country and its people while also learning about yourself.

    Possible Strategies

         Background information
         Lessons learned
         Future concerns.
          Recall of subpoints
    Discussion.
Background information: INCORRECT. Try again.
Lessons learned: CORRECT! This is one of two strategies used.
Future concerns: INCORRECT. Try again..
Recall of subpoints: CORRECT! This is one of two strategies used.
Discussion: The strategies used in this concluding paragraph are lessons learned and recall of subpoints. The paragraph directly addresses the lessons learned from this wonderful travelling experience. The points about hospitality, food, and cultural boundaries likely refer to experiences already described in the body of this essay.

5. Introductory Paragraph:

Do you know where Accra, Ghana, is located? Have you ever heard of the country of Ghana? Ghana is a small English-speaking country in West Africa. It is an important country because it was the first African country to become independent from white rulers. That revolution happened in 1957. I had never heard of Ghana until my brother decided to move there with his family in 1988. What do you think Ghana is like? I was fortunate to be able to find out when I traveled to Ghana. While I have gone to Ghana twice, my first visit to Ghana remains my favorite because of the opportunity to visit my family, the hospitality of the people, and the exotic environment.

    Possible Strategies

         Broad to narrow.
         Shift in expectations.
         Background information.
         Questions/quotations
    Discussion.
Broad to narrow: INCORRECT. Try again.
Shift in expectations: INCORRECT. Try again.
Background information: CORRECT! This is one of two strategies used
Questions/quotations: CORRECT! This is one of two strategies used.
Discussion: The introductory paragraph in this essay includes background information; however, this background information is factual as opposed to personal background information. Clearly, the writer uses questions, some of which are answered and others which are rhetorical in nature.

6. Concluding Paragraph:

In conclusion, my adventures in Ghana were truly the best in my life. I will never forget my family taking me to the Ghanaian market and learning from them how to bargain for dinner. My memories of people I met are still alive, and I write them letters occasionally. In all my travels since going to Ghana, I have still never found a more beautiful beach than the one I visited at Cape Coast. In all these ways, Ghana gave me a truly remarkable and unique vacation experience.

    Possible Strategies

         Recall of subpoints.
         Lessons learned.
         Future concerns.
         Broad to narrow.
    Discussion.
Recall of subpoints: INCORRECT. Try again.
Lessons learned: INCORRECT. Try again.
Future concerns: CORRECT!
Questions/quotations: INCORRECT. Try again.
Discussion: The strategy used is future concerns. After the restatement of the thesis, this concluding paragraph concerns the future. It relates another return trip which happened after the trip recounted in the essay, and it includes a recommendation for the future travels of readers.