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Visual organizers and creative diagrams can truly help students formulate their thoughts and prepare an assignment. It can make schoolwork more fun for kids, too. This is the case with the hamburger paragraph. It uses a hamburger metaphor and diagram to help children put together the components of a full essay.

Sometimes diving into an essay can feel overwhelming for students. They know it has to be a certain length, or cover a certain number of elements in a topic, but do not know where or how to start. When it comes to explaining how to write a paragraph for kids, they often respond enthusiastically to friendly and unexpected visual interpretations.

Familiar food layers

Hamburger writing relies on the use of layers, just like the ingredient layers in a common hamburger. The hamburger writing template displays the top bun, then underneath it layers of vegetables, burger, and then the bottom portion of the bun.

Here are the sections in a common model:
  • Top bun
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Burger patty
  • Bottom bun

In another version of this, called cheeseburger writing, there is a layer of cheese instead of or in addition to the vegetables. It is similar to hamburger writing, with some saying the cheese layer may be seen as something more of a transitional thought, as it melts into the neighboring ingredients.

Here are the sections in one version of a cheeseburger writing model:
  • Top bun
  • Ketchup
  • Cheese
  • Burger patty
  •  Bottom bun

Easy and welcome format

This easy-to-follow plan can make the process much easier for young people. There are templates to find online, so these can be printed for students, and even colored for interest and fun. The layers of their hamburger paragraph can be filled in directly on the print-outs or on another sheet of paper as they use the diagram as a guide reminder.

Even those who are brand new to essay writing can take comfort in the simple model presented on a hamburger writing template. Paragraph forms seem easier to complete when they are paired with an illustration like this, especially for very young students. Even research processes become more pleasant as they fill in their burger portions.

The layers, writing outline, and paragraph pieces

The model can certainly be altered or edited to meet goals and class needs, but the most common version uses five distinctive layers, with the top and bottom rarely changing much. The middle portions can always use three of any number of ingredients, including tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, onion, ketchup, mustard, burger or veggie burger, pickles, etc. For this example, we use the buns, tomatoes, lettuce, and burger.

Top bun

The segments go in a logical order, so the student starts with the top bun of the burger. This is the introductory paragraph. The reader will sink teeth into this first, so ease them in with a clear and easy-to-digest summary of the paper topic. Make it delicious (interesting) so they keep eating (reading).


Get a little juicier and go further in to speak more about your topic, offering a nice and more thorough taste of the essay, perhaps introducing characters or the setting and background.


Keep the flavor and texture coming, and the reader interested in devouring more. Bring in more details and further story depth to involve and intrigue the reader.

Burger patty

Here is the meat of the story or essay. Give the reader what they have been patiently waiting for, and provide a lot of flavor (colorful details and information). If the other layers have led up to something fascinating or a big answer about the story, tell it here. This is the most in-depth part of the meal, so make it satisfying and provide closure.

Bottom bun

This final layer supports the other layers above it and gives a wrap-up summary of the big story components. It is similar in flavor to the top layer (top bun) but gives more of a finishing style of synopsis. It should leave the reader satiated.

It’s fun to incorporate the hamburger writing template and paragraphs when preparing an essay, and if it helps your students embrace and learn the important elements of outlines, why not try it? Enjoy this unique and creative technique…and when the essays are done, think about serving up some real hamburgers to celebrate.