Making Essay Writing FUN with the Bing, Bang, Bongo Method

Writing a five paragraph essay can seem intimidating for a child, but The BING, BANG, BONGO Method uses colors to help children see the separation of the paragraphs and makes that differentiation easier. This FUN method of teaching essay writing breaks up a very overwhelming concept and teaches children the step-by-step process of essay writing.

For the past twenty years while teaching writing, I have first set the stage for writing a paragraph by using these three approaches: hamburger methodstory flower, and the paragraph train. 

When my child or student was ready developmentally for writing essays, I transitioned to expanding the concept of writing five sentences to five paragraphs. I first begin by sharing this powerpoint about The BING, BANG, BONGO Method.

Next, I model writing a five paragraph essay together with my child using the first printable in this packet. For the following writing session, I have the child gather three of his favorite belongings. (These have been a toy, stuffed animal, Bible, a sentimental item from a relative, a special photograph, etc.)  The child will use those as props for his first essay, which will be titled, "My Favorite Possessions." I will sit next to him coaching him in writing the essay using the first printable.

For several weeks, I will continue using the first printable as a visual tool while I sit next to the child and help guide him through the process. When the child becomes more independent, I will use the second printable in this packet (printed on cardstock) as a reference sheet. The child will write his essay on notebook paper underlining the words and sentences that correspond with the reference sheet.

As the pattern of writing a five paragraph essay is better understood and becomes a habit (usually after a few months), I will use the third printable in this packet (printed on cardstock) as a reference sheet and the child will continue writing his essay on notebook paper but this time using no colors. This whole process can take an entire school year but lays the groundwork for all future essays. If you take your time and allow your child to move ahead at his own pace and become comfortable with writing essays in this format, you will be very thankful later. You can download the forms for free HERE.

I continued using the same outline on the third printable in this packet until my oldest son graduated high school. I never purchased a writing curriculum while homeschooling him. He just worked on this format and perfected it as much as possible using strong verbs, transitions, and lots of details. He would also extend this format to a five page research paper (instead of five paragraphs). The first time he took the SAT test, he received a perfect score on his essay portion. ☺

I hope you enjoy this method as much as I have!