Particularly in the types of writing featured on the GED Writing Test, paragraphs should be unified, so that all sentences in a paragraph clearly relate to the main idea.
Paragraphs also should be coherent-the reader should be able to follow the flow of ideas and details in the paragraph easily.
Teaching tip for unity:
Give students paragraphs containing tangential ideas. Have students locate the topic sentence or main idea of a paragraph. Then ask, Does each sentence in the paragraph support the topic sentence with details? If a sentence does not support the topic, it should be deleted.
Teaching tip for coherence:
Give students paragraphs in which one sentence is out of order. First, have them read the paragraph aloud. Then ask, How could you move one sentence in this paragraph to improve the order or flow of ideas? Read the paragraph aloud with several different changes and compare them.