How To Write A Bridge Essays

How to Write an Introduction

As the saying goes, there’s just one chance to make a first impression. For writers, that chance is in the introduction of an essay or text. If a writer can interest and engage a reader immediately, the writer has made a good first impression. Our worksheets on writing an engaging and interesting essay introduction are below. Simple click on the title to view more about the worksheet or to download a PDF. They are free for home or classroom use. Check out all of our writing worksheets!

Introducing a Topic: Giving Information

How do you name a pet or describe a good book at the library? In this activity, students introduce different topics based on prompts.

Grade Levels:
2nd and 3rd Grade, Grades K-12, Kindergarten & 1st Grade
CCSS Code(s):
W.1.2, W.2.2, W.3.2.A

Introducing a Topic: Opinion Writing

Students, especially beginning writers, sometimes have trouble getting started. This activity helps them learn how to introduce topics.

Grade Levels:
2nd and 3rd Grade, Grades K-12, Kindergarten & 1st Grade
CCSS Code(s):
W.1.1, W.2.1, W.3.1.A

Introducing a Topic: Telling a Story

This activity helps students learn how to clearly introduce a topic in a story they are telling. In this activity, students will write the setting of the story.

Grade Levels:
2nd and 3rd Grade, Grades K-12, Kindergarten & 1st Grade
CCSS Code(s):
W.1.3, W.2.3, W.3.3.A

How to Write a Thesis Statement

This activity helps students develop a strong thesis statement for their essays by providing practice writing sample statements.

Grade Levels:
6th - 8th Grade, 9th - 12th Grade, Grades K-12
CCSS Code(s):
W.6.1, W.7.1, W.8.1, W.9-10.1, W.11-12.1

How to Write an Introduction: Bridge Building Activity

This activity is designed to help students learn about writing introductions through a fun bridge building activity to join the lead noun card and thesis statement card.

Grade Levels:
6th - 8th Grade, 9th - 12th Grade, Grades K-12
CCSS Code(s):
W.6.1, W.7.1, W.8.1, W.9-10.1, W.11-12.1

How to Write an Introduction: Different Leads

This is a fun, creative activity where students explore ways to include factoids, stories, metaphors and more to create “hooks”. A great activity to help students develop strong introductions.

Grade Levels:
6th - 8th Grade, 9th - 12th Grade, Grades K-12
CCSS Code(s):
W.6.1, W.7.1, W.8.1, W.9-10.1

How to Write an Introduction: Lead Types

Creating an attention-grabbing lead isn’t always easy but it’s very rewarding to students when they are able to create engaging introductions. This activity provides great practice to build better introductions!

Grade Levels:
6th - 8th Grade, 9th - 12th Grade, Grades K-12
CCSS Code(s):
W.6.1, W.7.1, W.8.1, W.9-10.1

How to Write an Introduction: Lead, Bridge, and Thesis

Let’s combine it all! This activity helps students use thesis statements, bridges and leads to write strong essay introductions.

Grade Levels:
6th - 8th Grade, 9th - 12th Grade, Grades K-12
CCSS Code(s):
W.6.1, W.7.1, W.8.1, W.9-10.1

How to Write an Introduction: Write a Complete Introduction

This activity helps students bring together what they’ve learned to write a complete introduction, including the lead, bridge, and thesis statement.

Grade Levels:
6th - 8th Grade, 9th - 12th Grade, Grades K-12
CCSS Code(s):
W.6.1, W.7.1, W.8.1, W.9-10.1

by Kenneth Mai

Your essay doesn’t flow. Add some transitions.

Those words – along with comments such as “Needs better transitions,” “Where’s the transition?,” or simply “TRANSITION!!!” – plague many a paper that may perhaps otherwise be brilliant.

See, it’s like this. Pretend that the many ideas you’re churning out within a paper are islands in the ocean. (That’s a metaphor! Sometimes metaphors work nicely in papers! ) Some islands are bigger than others. Some are closer to each other, whilst some may seem to be drifting off far away from all the others. Similarly, some ideas are smaller bits a cohesive whole, while others require a bit more effort to reel in. Your task is to  gather these islands into a sort of kingdom that you rule. But in order  to make sure that you have full control over everything, you need to connect the islands to each other. Now, it’s fine that each island isn’t directly connected to every other island, especially when they’re far enough away from each other to not really be related at all. But ultimately you want all the islands connected to make up a unified whole. So what do you do?

You build bridges!

In the context of writing a paper, these bridges are your transitions. You have two ideas that are related— islands that are close enough that you can build a bridge between them—but ultimately distinct. In order to help your readers across that gulf, then, you need to put in a transition.

But what exactly is a transition? Is it one of the sequential words – “first,” “second,” “finally,” etc. – that were the gold standard of midde school writing? Well…perhaps. But you have many more options now.    The kind of transition you use depends on the relationship that you’re trying to build between two ideas, and those relationships can be quite complex.  Transitions can be as short as a word or a couple of words to something as long as a sentence or even an entire paragraph. What’s important isn’t so much the shape of the transition as the underlying connection that is being made.

Here are a few useful types of transitions to keep in mind.

  1. Sequential Transitions: Here, we’re not talking so much about “first, second, third.” Rather, this kind of transition points more towards the ideas that logically follow each other. Words such as “therefore” or “then,”  or phrases like “This indicates that…”, show a relationship between the ideas.  These transitions are used when one idea is the premise on which the next idea depends or when the second idea comes as a deduction from the first.
    Examples: Thus, Therefore, Then; It follows that, This indicates that, This implies that; From this we can see that, What this means is that…
  2. Comparative Transitions: Sometimes, it’s not so much that one idea is derivative of another, but rather that they share some sort of property. This is especially useful when the relationship between the two ideas isn’t obvious. This type of transition is useful in comparative essays (for obvious reasons) but also instrumental when you are using analogies to make a point about some sort of topic (such as talking about islands to make a point about transitions!)
    Examples: Like, Also, Similarly; Just as, In the same vein; This idea can also be seen in…, A similar phenomenon is found in …
  3. Contrastive Transitions: There are times when you’re neither describing premise-conclusion relationships nor looking at similarities, but instead focusing on contrasts: “This author says this, but that author says that.” “This appears to be the case, but in reality, it’s something else.” These transitions are useful not only in compare-and-contrast essays, but also whenever you’re trying to debunk a claim or to show another side of an issue. These words can also help you to move on to an entirely different issue.
    Examples: But, Though, However, Nevertheless/Nonetheless; Then again, On the other hand, At the same time; This ignores, It’s not…but rather, The difference between…and…is that…
  4. Summing Up Transitions: You’ve established an idea and thrown lots of brilliant evidence our way. Now what? In order to make sure your readers won’t miss important information, it’s a good idea provide the quick and dirty version of the ideas you just laid out before introducing your big, final insight.
    Examples: Essentially, Basically, Ultimately; In short, In other words, That is to say; This boils down to, The main point is…

Ultimately, the goal of these tools is to bring a sense of cohesion to your paper by showing the logical progression of your thoughts; they’re signposts telling your reader which bridge to cross and what the two islands linked by that bridge have to do with each other. These signposts ought to be everywhere within your paper, moving your reader between phrases and sentences in addition to paragraphs or larger chunks. Sometimes multiple signposts are needed to guide a reader across the bridge, because of the complex relationship of those two ideas. The primary goal to keep in mind, though, is to make sure your reader has a smooth trip. That’s how you make your paper flow.

In my next post, I’ll offer some examples of transitional sentences and paragraphs.

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