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Curriculum and Student Achievement

Transitioning Example: Within and Between Paragraphs

In the example that follows you can see how transitioning within and between paragraphs works in a multi-paragraph example. Ignore the numbers and the underlining and bolding for now; you’ll use them in a minute when we discuss the paragraphs.

Children learn (1.a)gross motor skills through their active play. Gross motor skills involve the ability to maintain balance, to run significant lengths, and to jump over specific hurdles. Children tend to fine tune these skills on the playground, where many tools challenge their (2.a)skills.


Children (2.b) also acquire (1.b)fine motor (2.c)skills through playing. Fine motor skills develop through using specific hand-eye coordination abilities. By cutting a paper with a pair of scissors or coloring inside the fine lines of a drawing, children develop the ability to manipulate their environment.


(1.c)With enhanced gross and fine motor skills, children become more comfortable with the socialization process. By skillfully running, jumping, and then scaling an obstacle, children learn to compete with their peers in active play. (3.a) Similarly, children's fine motor skill development enables them to perform tasks that are considered necessary to existing within a group. (3.b) For example, fine motor skill activities, like putting puzzles together, improve children's critical reasoning and thinking skills, which, in the future, will help them get along with other people. It also helps children gain the confidence needed to help them become a leader in a group rather than just being a part of one.

Now that you’ve read through the passage, let’s consider the various transitions within the passage. The numbers here refer to the marked passage above. For example (1) refers to 1.a (“gross motor skills”); 1.b (“fine motor skills”); and 1.c (“with enhanced gross and fine motor skills”) above.


(1) Number one has three parts to it (1.a; 1.b; 1.c). We’ve underlined all the parts that go with number one (notice that some of the words are bolded as well; we’ll talk more about those in a moment). In 1.c we can see how the writer uses key phrases (gross and fine motor skills) to link the third paragraph to the previous two paragraphs.


(2) Number two has three parts two it as well (2.a; 2.b; 2.c), although in this case the writer is using two strategies that work together to make a subtle transition. The parts here are all bolded. Notice that some of them are underlined as well. The writer uses the key word “skills” in the last sentence of the first paragraph and then reintroduces it in the first sentence of the second paragraph. However, in this case the writer felt that the key word “skills” may not make a strong enough link between ideas for the reader, since the word skills is used often, so the writer included the transition “also” to show that paragraph one and paragraph two contained a related discussion.


(3) Number three consists of two parts (3.a; 3.b). Both 3.a and 3.b are examples of transitions used within paragraphs. Again, you can see that these words contain meaning. By using the word “similarly” the writer wants to emphasize or explore a similarity between two ideas. When the writer uses “for example,” she wants to indicate to the reader that she is providing an example of the previous sentence.