Kernel Essays

For a kernel essay the writer writes about a topic, using the text structure as a guide, creating one sentence per box. This collection of sentences is called a kernel essays. The next step is for the writer to read the kernel essay aloud to several listeners to see whether the text structure worked for the topic. For more information see Gretchen Bernabei’s Reviving the Essay.

Below is an example of a text structure and kernel essay about a memory.

Kyle's Sample Kernel Essay

Kernel essays can be used for many writing purposes. This includes writing in each content area. Below are a few text structures specifically geared towards content area writing. For an expanded list of disciplinary literacy text structures and possible uses click the following link:  Disciplinary Literacy Text Structures 


Text Structures for History



History 2


History 3

Example of a kernel essay in the history classroom:

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Text Structures for Science



Science 2


Science 3

 Example of a kernel essay in the science classroom:

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Text Structures for Math

Math Text Structure 2

Math Text Structure

Example of  a Kernel Essay in a Math Classroom


Other Resources

Material from Gretchen Bernabei

Kernel Essay Planning Sheet

STAAR Genre Text Structure

Comic Book Text Structures

 Science Fair Project Planning Sheet (page 39)


Teacher Blogs About Kernel Essays

Expository Writing: Gretchen Bernabei Style

Teacher Examples of Kernel Essays