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.
HOW TO PLAN A COMPOSITION
There are many ways to plan a composition. The question is, which is the best way for a primary school student? When time is a constraint, especially during tests and examinations, we need a planning tool that is simple yet effective.
Composition Writing Made Simple
A Framework for Writing the New PSLE Format Composition
The Composition Writing Made Simple Framework is a simple framework that students can use to plan and write their compositions.
There are 3 parts to a composition – INTRODUCTION, BODY, CONCLUSION.
Let’s look at each of these 3 parts.
The introduction is where readers decide whether the story is worth reading or not. Therefore, it is important for students to learn to write captivating introductions.
These are some ways to begin a composition:
1. BEGIN WITH SPEECH
Begin your story with a direct speech. Let your character say something captivating.
2. BEGIN WITH ACTIONS
Begin your story with actions. Let your character do something. Use vivid verbs.
3. BEGIN WITH A DESCRIPTION
This can either be a description of the character, the setting or a combination of both.
Ask yourself these questions:
The body of a composition is the most important part of the composition. It is where the ‘meat’ of the story is.
Many students do not realise that there are 3 parts in the body of a composition.
1. EVENTS LEADING TO THE PROBLEM
Most captivating stories include a conflict (or problem) that the main character has to face and solve. A story without a conflict can be plain and uninteresting. A big mistake that many students make is to describe the problem immediately after the introduction. In doing so, the composition faces the risk of being under-developed.
Students need to learn to write the events leading to the problem, before proceeding to describe the problem. Events leading to the problem can be a description of what the character(s) were doing before the problem took place. It can also be a description of what the character(s) did or did not do that directly led to the problem.
2. THE CONFLICT (OR PROBLEM)
As mentioned, this is the 'meat' of the story, the part that contains the most details. This is where you should describe as much action and characters' emotions as possible. The use of direct speech here helps to bring life to the story too.
How high a mark a student gets is mostly dependent on what he/she writes in this part of the composition. So, it is vital to learn to write the conflict well.
3. THE RESOLUTION / SOLUTION
Another important part of the body of a composition is the resolution (or solution to the problem).
Unfortunately, this is also the part where many students rush through, either due to a lack of time or lack of ideas.
Somehow, primary school students like to use a figure of authority to solve the conflict in their compositions. These authority figures are usually policemen, firemen, teachers or parents, who usually appear within minutes to solve the problem and the story ends. It is rare to read compositions where the conflict is solved by the protagonist or the main character of the story.
Now, in some composition topics, there is no choice but to involve authority figures to solve the problem. In situations like these, what students can do is to at least describe the character's attempts to solve the problem before help arrives.
To write a good resolution, ask yourself these questions:
Once the resolution is written, do not forget to conclude the composition. The conclusion is where we tie up all the loose ends and bring the story to a close. It is vital that we give readers a satisfactory ending and not leave them hanging or in doubt at the end of the story.
What you can write in the conclusion:
1. Character's reflections and thoughts about what had happened.
2. Character's concluding actions or decision for future actions.
3. Restate the topic if applicable.
Some teachers like their students to write about the lesson learnt through the events encountered. It can get rather predictable and boring. To spice that up a little, you can write the lesson learnt in the form of character's thoughts or direct speech.
As challenging as it might be, it is not impossible to write a good piece of composition. Writing is a skill. Just like learning a musical instrument, learning how to write well takes time and much practice. The key is to keep writing, get feedback and write some more. There is simply no shortcut.
Download the FREE Composition Writing Framework Planning Sheet to practise planning a composition before writing.