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Does anyone have any exercises they use to show how a paragraph could/should be structured?

I am running an in-house programme on letter and email writing. My inspiration is running a little low for this topic and any insights from other trainers would be much appreciated!

Many thanks

Jo House

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By GrahamO'Connell
18th Sep 2007 17:20

Although geared for kids, there are some useful pointers at
Or for more grown up tips try
And for more detail go for SkillsWise at

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By karynr
18th Sep 2007 14:34

Increasingly, people seem to be lumping their thoughts together into single paragraphs. The ascendancy of emails and discussion boards is often blamed for this, but in both those situations, it is perfectly possible to create paragraphs, so I don't buy it!

One suggestion you might like to try is to take a few extracts from some well known books (not Snoopy's book - in spite of the title for this comment) and take out the paragraph breaks. Then challenge delegates in pairs to replace them.

You could follow this up with a debate as to whether the delegates' paragraph breaks are more or less effective than the original... and why, of course!

You could choose to have them guess where the extracts come from, or make that information available up front to help them choose which extract to work on. If they've read the book, so much the better!

If you choose a wide enough range of source materials, your delegates have a better chance of finding something they like.

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By Jenny James
20th Sep 2007 10:14

Hi Jo

Just a snippet really.

One thing I remember from a speed reading seminar I went to years ago is that many people scan read documents by reading just the first sentence of each paragraph and use that to decide whether they need or want to read the rest of that paragraph.

Could you give your group a selection of pieces from newpapers etc and ask them to see if the first sentence of each para is a good indicator in this sense?

Good luck.


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