Primary 6 is a crucial year with the PSLE as the main event for students. In order to score A or A-star for PSLE English, it is vital for students to do well in Paper 1 (Composition) and Oral. The foundation of good writing should have been built from middle primary onwards (Primary 3 to 4), so that when the child comes to Primary 6, he will be spending time honing the writing techniques learnt instead of trying to lay the foundation.
This is a piece of composition written by a Primary 6 student. When he submitted this piece, I was pleasantly surprised to read it as he told me that this was his first draft. He wrote it in an hour, with no external help. I am reproducing it here as it is, with no edits. (You might spot some punctuation and grammatical mistakes.)
In recent years, there has been a shift in primary school composition topics, from accidents and mishaps to writing about values such as honesty, kindness and bravery. Such topics can be more challenging for students to develop a captivating and interesting plot. However, with practice and guidance, it can be done.
To write such topics well, it is important to vividly describe the characters' actions and emotions (feelings).
Today, we are going to showcase another piece of composition. This is written by a Primary 4 student from our online Writing Academy. I find this piece of composition engaging as she has used a wide range of vocabulary to vividly describe the main character's actions and feelings. At the same time, the value of honesty was brought out clearly in the story. Enjoy!
As mentioned, over the next few posts, I will be showcasing the writing of some students, both online and onsite (weekly writing workshops).
This piece is written by one of the students attending my Primary 4 weekly workshop. She wrote this after learning how to write a 'Flashback'.
In school, some teachers like to print out model compositions for their classes. I prefer to call them a showcase of students' writing instead.
Over the next few posts, I am going to showcase the writing of some of my students, both online and onsite (weekly writing workshops).
To start off this series, here is an entertaining piece written by a Primary 4 student. Words in [ ] are added by me, to make the descriptions more vivid.
In primary school, students are usually taught to begin their compositions with dialogue, a sound, weather description, a captivating question, flashback or character descriptions. With the implementation of the new PSLE composition format, knowing how to begin a composition with character description is more vital than ever before.
Writing skills take time to develop. One of the ways for students to sharpen their writing skills is to zero in on a specific area and practise until it becomes easier.
A child who is not able to write a piece of composition will not improve just because he is assigned stacks of compositions to write. What he needs are specific and clear steps to bring him from the stage of not knowing what and how to write, to being able to write.
Targeted practise and constructive feedback is the key to improved writing.
Here are some students' featured writing. These students learn how to write good compositions using the Composition Framework - a structured way to build a foundation in composition writing.
Students do not improve just by writing more.
They improve by zeroing in on specific areas and get targeted practice on these specific areas.
Targeted Practice + Constructive Feedback = Improved Writing Skills
Read the featured compositions and students' writing HERE.
Adding Direct Speech in your Compositions
By middle primary (P3), most students would have been told by their teachers to pepper their compositions with some direct speech. In fact, direct speech is one of the more common ways for students to begin their compositions with.
However, many students do not know how to use direct speech in their compositions. So, they write things like:
"Hurray!" the children cheered.
"Yay!" said Tom.
"Yippee!" said Mary.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PLANNING
Very often, when it comes to writing compositions, primary school students write whatever comes to their minds. This is a huge mistake.
It is important to always take about 5 minutes to plan your composition before writing.
Your plan gives you a structure for your story. It provides a framework for your writing.
Writing is not among the top favourite activities of primary school students. Ask a child whether he likes to write and you are most likely to get a firm, "No!"
Rare is the child who loves and enjoys writing.
In my years of teaching and coaching kids in writing, I have come across a few rare ones. They love to write and compose stories. Give them a topic or a picture, and they are able to get started almost immediately. With enthusiasm, no less!
However, this is not the case for the majority of students.
Does your child love and enjoy writing?
Or does your child resist it and avoid it like the plague?
Have you ever picked up a book and could not put it down after reading the first few sentences?
That is the power of a great opening.
In writing, first impressions count. If your opening is captivating, readers will be hooked to continue reading. If your opening is plain old boring, the possibility of them being drawn into the rest of your story is close to none.
So, it is vital to begin your story in a captivating way.
Here are 4 ways you can begin a story: