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:
When we think of writing, very often, what comes to our minds are school assignments, essays, compositions, reports and other forms of serious (often boring) types of writing.
Therefore, it is not surprising to hear kids say things like, "I hate writing!" or "I don't want to write!"
Children are naturally drawn to activities that are fun and meaningful to them. So, if we want our kids to be drawn to writing, guess what? We have to make it fun and meaningful!
Here are some activities you can do with your child to get them to write and have fun doing it.
Since 2015, the PSLE composition format has been changed, to give room for more creativity in students' writing. Due to this change in PSLE composition, there is now a variety of composition formats across schools. Some schools have revamped their composition curriculum in line with the new PSLE composition format while others have yet to do so, especially for the lower primary.
It used to be that students could simply start their compositions by diving straight in to describe what's provided in the 4 sequential pictures.
Now, with the new PSLE composition format, the 3 pictures provided are no longer sequential, allowing students the flexibility to write their own introduction, body and conclusion.
With this change, it is now more important than ever before for students to know how to begin their compositions, develop their plot and conclude their stories beautifully and coherently.
Which is why I have created the Composition Writing Made Simple Framework.
If you know anything about writing, you would have heard of this phrase "show and not tell". What exactly does that mean?
Read this sentence:
James is happy today.
This is a 'telling' sentence. It tells us that James is happy. Can you picture James in your mind? What do you mean he is happy? How happy is he? Is he smiling, dancing, jumping up and down? We have no idea. That is the essence of telling. You simply state it and tell it. There is no description.
Showing, on the other hand, is different.