Your 5th Grade Teacher Won't Agree

content instagram marketing writing Oct 11, 2022

A few years ago, my son came home from school with a writing assignment and asked me to edit it for him.

I suggested he move a few sentences outside of his big paragraphs for flow and so it would be easier to read.

He was shocked.

Sentences can't stand alone, he had said. They need to be part of a chunk paragraph!

A CHUNK paragraph.

The phrase alone makes me shudder and uncomfortable. Chunky squares full of words. Ideas squished together. No space to breath or consider.

Then I remembered that's how I learned to write, too.

Each paragraph had to have a topic sentence, two or three sentences supporting the topic, and then a conclusion sentence. FIVE LONG sentences in one paragraph.

I am guessing you probably learned that way, as well. And it makes sense to learn with this method so we can introduce ideas, support them, and follow-through.

But we don't read in chunks anymore.

We read in spaces.

When we look at a long article, our eyes skim for pockets of empty space. We want to know that we can "breath" and digest.

We like to see words and phrases that stick out and give us CLUES so we can stay on track.

Look at what's in your email inbox. Check out social media captions.

Chances are, most of them look similar to this post. 

Lots of spaces.

Short paragraphs, or even just one sentence with a hard return between each line.

What's a hard return?

The space between these lines. A soft return looks like
this. Not a full space between the above line and this one.

But in our modern written communication, readers like space.

Your fifth grade teacher might not. And unless you are selling and writing specifically to fifth grade teachers, don't write in chunks.

Leave some space for your readers to breath and skim.