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PLEASE for Paragraphs

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First published in Learning Disability Quarterly (Welch, 1992) and retrieved from Writing Better (Graham & Harris, 2005), the PLEASE strategy is a student mnemonic for better paragraph writing.


The teacher should explicitly instruct students on the use of the PLEASE strategy to improve paragraph writing skills. The acronym PLEASE represents the key steps in the process of writing a paragraph (from Graham & Harris, 2005):

Step 1: PICK – Pick the topic, audience, and type of paragraph. Some paragraph types might include enumerative, compare/contrast, and cause and effect.

Step 2: LIST – Students generate a list of ideas to possibly include in the paragraph. This includes listing requirements or criteria for the assignment.

Step 3: EVALUATE – students examine their list of ideas and criteria and evaluate it for thoroughness/completion. When they determine that the list is complete, they then sequence the ideas that they plan to use in the paragraph.

Step 4: ACTIVATE – Students “activate” the paragraph by starting with a topic sentence that introduces the reader to their topic.

Step 5: SUPPLY – Students supply (construct) sentences from their list of ideas that support the topic sentence. This is essentially the drafting step, so students should seek to write sentences for each idea to include and then elaborate with more detail or explanation where needed.

Step 6: END – Finally, students end with a concluding sentence then check the paragraph for needed edits. One recommendation for “policing” their writing could be to use the COPS editing strategy.

When instructing students on the use of the strategy, the teacher should be sure to use model texts to demonstrate well-constructed paragraphs and model the use of the strategy to demonstrate each of the steps and the thinking associated.


Read more about how the PLEASE strategy helps increase students’ linguistic intelligence on ResearchGate.

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