TEEL Essay Structure

This post on the Teel Essay Structure is part of my 21 Challenge. I am taking The 21 Challenge to raise money to support homeless and at-risk young people in Australia. There are more than 32,000 young people who sleep on our streets every night and I blogging a kids activity daily to raise funds to go to Open Family Australia who support these youths.

My challenge is to blog daily an activity I do each day with my kids, using only things we have at home or use what we have on hand when we are out. You can see all the children’s activities I have posted as part of the 21 Challenge by clicking on the tag 21 Challenge here.


My 13 year old has two exams tomorrow, one of which is English. He knows there will be three sections to the exam – a text response to the novel they have been studying, questions on the advertising unit and a section on grammar.

Getting a 13 year old boy to plan an essay (in our case at least!) is not an easy task. Preference tends to be to just get at it and write away. The results from this can be okay, but with some planning could be even better.

This weekend I worked with our son to create a template for a TEEL Essay Structure he could use when doing practice questions. This meant he didn’t have to write an entire essay which would be time consuming, but he could do a number of plans covering the key themes they had studied in the book.


TEEL Essay Structure
The TEEL Essay Structure is a basic framework for students to use to ensure they cover off the key components in their essay.

This is the format we used for a text response essay:

Topic sentence – main idea using key word from question
Explain – characters or scenes that explain this idea
Evidence – 3 examples or quotes from text
Link back to question (words like therefore, due to this, thus)

You can download the TEELS Essay Structure template we created here – TEEL Essay Structure Template, which also contains notes for the introduction and conclusion.

Please note that I am not a teacher and this is a structure and format that we worked out for our son which we found worked for him.

While the TEEL essay structure does have its critics, it is encourage by my son’s school to use as a base for their essay writing. I think it does work well as kids are starting to learn to put together more cohesive arguments.

It doesn’t have to followed to the letter, for example the student may choose to put the “Evidence” first and then explain it. I can imagine as the student’s skills increase in essay writing, then they would modify their essay writing approach even further.


I have only used this so far with the 13 year old, but I am going to introduce it to my 11 year old who is in grade 5 this year as well.

Additional resources:

  • Mrs Mereos’ Blog– This blog has a great range of info for secondary school students. It is written by a teacher (couldn’t find anywhere where it said which one) who uses the blog as a medium of communication to her students.In this post Mrs Mereos sets out the two main techniques/strategies that she wanted the students to focus on for the year – Munro Literacy strategies and the TEEL Essay Structure.
  • Melbourne High School Resource Page – contains a fantastic article on Writing the Text Response Essay, including an example of a detailed text response essay plan.

Do your kids plan their essays?