4 Methods to End A Primary School English Composition

Primary School English Composition

Have you ever enjoyed a book or movie, only to be disappointed by the lacklustre ending? A good story is incomplete without an outstanding ending. Let us review the ways to help your child avoid the pitfalls of a vapid conclusion in their primary school English compositions!

End with a cliff-hanger

A cliff-hanger is a technique of ending the story such that the outcome of the situation remains a mystery to the reader. Ending with a cliff-hanger is a sophisticated way of concluding a primary school English compositions that exhibits your child’s finely-honed writing techniques. Cliff-hangers draw readers into the story by making them hunger for what is to come. While your child may not be writing a sequel to their story, a cliff-hanger piques the examiner’s interest in your child’s composition. At times, cliff-hangers also add a layer of realism to your child’s primary school English composition. Often, there are no perfect solutions to real life conflicts and ending the composition on a cliff-hanger reflects this.

How can students end with a cliff-hanger in their story? Instead of focusing on developing a resolution to the composition, students should focus on creating suspense by emphasising on the emotions and sensory experiences of the main character. Let us review this technique by looking at how students can create a cliff-hanger for the topic, ‘A Misunderstanding’. Suppose that the main character in the story accuses their friend of stealing, only to discover later that their friend is innocent. A composition with a conventional resolution would end with the characters reconciling after the main character has apologised. Conversely, ending with a cliff-hanger questions if the characters can truly let bygones be bygones. Here is an example of ending with a cliff-hanger:

From the corner of my eyes, I caught sight of a familiar silhouette a distance away, trudging down the grey corridor. That gait was unmistakeable – it was Sam! I had finally found him! My heart leapt into my throat as beads of cold perspiration materialised on my forehead. Thoughts of everything I needed to say to him raced through my mind at lightning speed. I had to let him know that I would never doubt him again. “Sam!” I let out a shriek that pierced the air, prompting the students around me to turn their gazes towards me. For the briefest moment, I thought that I saw Sam froze in his tracks. To my dismay, before I could utter another word, he picked up his pace and headed off.

I stood there, rooted to the ground, watching my best friend disappear into a sea of unfamiliar faces.

Notice that the character’s emotions and sensory experiences are described in detail here, amplifying the tension and suspense in the ending. Did Sam not hear the main character’s scream, or was he ignoring the main character? Will the two friends ever rekindle their friendship? We may never find out.

End with a dramatic one-liner

Longer paragraphs do not necessarily equate to superior writing, and a dramatic one-liner encapsulates this! A dramatic one-liner is a thought-provoking sentence that leaves a lasting, emotional impact on the reader. Many writers utilise this writing technique to come up with a powerful closing sentence that has been quoted over and over again. Let us look at the sample ending above once more. The final paragraph is made up of a single sentence narrating how the main character helplessly watched Sam walk away, thus etching a vivid mental image and haunting emotional impact upon the reader.

Remember, the final sentence in the composition is your child’s last chance at impressing the examiner. A splendidly crafted sentence will boost their opinion of your child’s writing techniques!

Share the character’s feelings

Emotions are the lifeblood of any story. They keep the reader engaged with the story and sympathetic to the characters. Most primary school English compositions require students to write about an incident that is momentous or unforgettable to the main character, and lasting memories are often the ones that stir up powerful emotions. As such, to emphasise on how impactful the incident is to the character, it is vital for students to depict a rich wealth of emotions in their conclusions. What feelings arise when the main character looks back at the events that unfurled?

An exciting way to bring emotions to life is to use show-not-tell to describe the character’s feelings. In the sample paragraph above, we see that the main character’s anxiety is detailed by the “beads of cold perspiration materialised on [his] forehead” and so on. You can find out more on how your child can apply show-not-tell skillsin our trial class.

Insert a relevant saying or proverb

Including a wise saying in the concluding paragraph is a great way of ending the composition as it showcases your child’s knowledge and language skills. This could be quotations from famous people, books, or proverbs that have been proven true time and time again. Of course, such quotations are not one-size-fits-all and students need to be precise about how the relevant saying links to the plot. Ergo, your child should be familiarised with many different sayings and proverbs so that they have a relevant one at their fingertips to use in their compositions.

Many students make the mistake of rushing through their conclusions under time constraints of the examination. If you would like to learn more about how your child can end their compositions with a bang, consider signing up for our trial class.

Why are Small Class Size Tuition Classes More Beneficial?

small class size

Is being ‘small’ considered a ‘big’ thing? Yes, especially if it involves English tuition! Small class size tuition or big class size tuition? Unerringly, parents choose the former over the latter whenever they are offered a choice between the two while enrolling their children. Why is it so?  English tuition complements a student’s classroom learning experience. If students are exposed to a large classroom setup as seen in mainstream classrooms, it is perceived that students may not get the necessary help they need.

It is an open secret that big class sizes overwhelm a teacher so much so that they eventually limit the efficiency of instruction itself.

Here’s why….

  1. A good teacher teaches but a great teacher inspires. The purpose of teaching is not just to teach!It is to inspire students to take responsibility for their learning eventually. Small class size offers a golden opportunity to all teachers to motivate, offer personalised feedback and give a leg up to find their footing. Teachers connect with students personally by observing them closely to ascertain the following – the learning style of each student, the strengths to build on, the shortcomings that require guidance and so on. These help in chalking out the appropriate teaching tools to reach out to the students. From time to time, the teacher checks the effectiveness of these tools to tailor them according to the needs of the student. Through such interactions, students warm up to the subject. Consequently, they develop a positive attitude towards learning itself, which in turn, transforms them into lifelong learners.
  2. At a time when creativity is the order of the day, how do we stoke out-of-the-box thinking among the students? Small class size tuition is the perfect answer to this! The fewer the number of students in a class, the more significant time a teacher has on hand to explore creative approaches to teaching and learning.Critical thinking skills are practised and polished precisely because the small group allows time for that. Such approaches achieve maximum learning outcomes for every student – a desirable factor that parents take into account while enrolling their children in English tuition. If teaching methods have changed with time, class sizes must also keep up with them to see positive changes in the way students learn.
  3. Small class sizes translate into fewer distractions and greater coverage of learning material for the students. Disruptions from pockets of distracted students, which mostly happen in big class sizes, are impediments to constructive interaction between the teacher and learners in a classroom. Inability to manage such misbehaviour in a classroom leads to wastage of time and less learning material to be covered during lessons. On the contrary, small class size minimises distractions, increases students’ attention spans and allows more time to cover adequate material for gaining an in depth understanding of the rudiments of the language.  All these eventually lead to better results for students.
  4. Imagine self-conscious or introverted students in a big classroom setup. All that they may usually do is to listen passively to their teachers and peers. They are gripped by this innate panic to not make any slips for fear of being ridiculed. How do such students loosen up and contribute to discussions? A small class size English tuition is the ideal platform. No child can hide in such a setup. Drawing out each student in a small group is much easier because it is cosy and comfortable. Moreover, the students are tolerant and respectful of their peers. In such a climate, it is little wonder that even bashful or introverted students, who are normally side-lined or lost in a big class size, come out of their shells to air their views and defend beliefs.In fact, such interactions could be a prelude to opening up in larger settings when these students acquire self-confidence and poise while progressing towards adulthood.
  5. A sense of community prevails in a small class size. Students form cohesive groups and work in perfect harmony. A small group fosters sharing and even a sense of teamwork as concepts are explored in the give and take of discussion. Lasting friendships are made, and this enables the students to learn from one another.

At Write Edge, a class size of not more than 6 to 8 students is the norm. Every student gets to interact with the teacher closely during the writing process. Teachers are thus better able to oversee the writing progress of every student under their wing. Immediate and frequent feedback to students nudge them forward in the right direction. Sensing the pulse of the students, teachers periodically customise their teaching strategies to meet their requirements. Write Edge’s small size English and writing classes have certainly helped to make it big!

3 Effective Writing Skills that will make Stories Come Alive!

effective writing skills

What makes a story unforgettable and enthralling? What effective writing skills can help your child write a dynamic story that stands out from the rest? The best writers are able to paint a picture using their words. To help your child write captivating compositions, here are three pointers that they should be incorporating into their writing:

1.Always abide by the golden rule of Show-not-Tell

The first effective writing skill is one that is preached relentlessly in any writing class- show, not tell! Good writers do not simply state what the character is experiencing, but paint a vivid picture of it through their narrative. This skill is indispensable when portraying the emotions of characters.

Unfortunately, trying to show-not-tell is more easily said than done. Students are often perplexed when they are instructed to do so in their compositions. To guide students on how to apply Show-not-Tell into their compositions, we at Write Edge have broken the process down into three simple steps that any student can grasp effortlessly. These three steps are named Do-Look-Say!

Students should begin by asking themselves the following questions: what would my character do when they are feeling a certain way? What actions would they undertake? Let us look at how esteemed novelists make use of this skill in their stories! In the novel Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, the main character, Pip, suffers through a mortifying ordeal. Reacting to this incident, he is described to have “[gotten] rid of [his] injured feelings…by kicking them into the brewery wall, and twisting them out of [his] hair”. Here, instead of simply stating that Pip felt humiliated, Dickens shows us what Pip did to vent his frustrations- by kicking a wall and tugging at his hair. Likewise, in our classes, students are prompted to ruminate on how they could articulate their characters’ emotions through describing their actions. What would cause a character to bounce up and down, to stare at their feet, or to bury their head in their hands?

Needless to say, describing body language is but the first component to showing and not telling. Write Edge students are also taught how to depict their characters’ facial expression (look) and tone of speech (say). These three elements are the fundamental step to writing stories that come alive.

2.Make your characters memorable through vivid character descriptions

What makes James Bond such an enduring fictional character? How did Sherlock Holmes manage to inspire more than 250 different screen adaptations?

The answer lies in their striking characterisation! These characters have been so expertly constructed by their authors that their physical traits, demeanor and personality have become etched in our cultural consciousness. Vivid, compelling characters draw us into the story and make us root for them. We want to know what happens next in the story because we care about the characters. Furthermore, well-written characters give us an insight into how they would impact the storyline and drive the story forward.

To write a composition that scores well in exams, students should insert vivid character descriptions into their stories. Our writing classes help students envision compelling characters and pen down their thoughts creatively through engaging with their five senses. Imagine meeting a person for the first time. What does the character look like? What are they wearing? What do they smell like? How do they walk and speak, and how do their mannerisms reflect their personality?

3.Transport the readers into the world of imagination with a powerful setting description

Does the composition take place in a mundane, dreary classroom, or between the oak shelves of a distinguished library?

Is the main character astounded by the dignified presence of the majestic Taj Mahal, or floating aimlessly through the barren frontiers of outer space?

Setting is the time and space where the story takes place. The environment of the scenario depicted in the story influences development of the plot as well as the emotions of the characters. A character stuck in a packed train cabin during peak hour may feel antsy and irritated. How would their frustration be displayed on their face and the way they carry themselves? What potential conflict can arise in this cramped space, where people are breathing in each other’s air? Regardless of the setting, a well-developed setting description is able to evoke a vivid mental image of the place in the reader’s mind’s eye.

At Write Edge, our classes and curriculum are designed to help students hone effective writing skills to create setting descriptions that immerse readers into the story. Similar to character descriptions, engaging with the five senses is paramount when illustrating a setting through words. What does the character see, hear, smell, touch or even taste in that environment?

To assist students with tackling these writing steps, our classes also help students improve on their vocabulary mastery so that they can write with vibrant descriptions. Find out more about our creative writing curriculum here.

Does reading model compositions help to improve composition writing?

Does reading model compositions help to improve composition writing
Hot selling English books that fly off the shelves at bookstores are – guessed it right? – books of English Model Compositions! Dealing with a wide array of writing topics, these model compositions are packed with extensive impactful vocabulary, impressive sentence structures and creative story plots. Consequently, they are popular with students, especially primary school students, who wish to improve their English compositions.

Does this strategy boost writing skills and impart a lifelong love for writing in children? The answer to this cannot be in black and white simply because there are both pros and cons to this strategy.

Embrace the pros

Writing is an elaborate thinking processes consisting of the following steps:

(a) brainstorming and organising ideas

(b) translating these ideas into words, weaving them into sentences and paragraphs

(c) proofreading the content for errors

Each of these processes requires expertise in order to produce quality writing piece. Students are challenged by the writing processes, because they are forced to structure the language without letting go of the conventions of grammar such as spelling and punctuation. In such a scenario, young writers need instructions to guide them along.

Does reading model compositions offer guidance? It certainly appears so! How can students be good writers if they don’t know what good writing looks like? Reading and writing are interconnected on many levels. Students gain an important insight into the process of writing by reading and studying a variety of relevant types of text; English model compositions being one of them. They learn the know-how to infuse a myriad of language elements -figurative language, 5-senses description, Show-Not-Tell expressions, etc- into a writing piece to create the right impact, thus exposing the students to the quality of writing expected out of them.. While reading, students not only absorb the vocabulary and sentence structures, but they also emulate them in their own writing. Emulation offers necessary support to students until they produce their own ideas. From that perspective, reading model compositions is a useful strategy to input ideas into a student as well as being a prelude to independent writing.

Conquer the Cons

Is reading English model compositions to improve writing skills the only solution? What initially starts off as emulation of writing techniques for the benefit of building confidence, takes another shape along the way. Students memorise story plots of the written themes without the intention to come up with original out-of-the-box storylines; an undesirable habit that gets steeped into the students. Therein lies a worrying situation: how will students tackle any of the themes not found in the model compositions? If students do not acquire confidence to write independently, they are unlikely to write proficiently when the circumstance demands! Another matter of concern is about students who indiscriminately extract vocabulary phrases from model English compositions and misapply them in their independently conceived writing pieces. Thus, an over-reliance on model compositions for improving English compositions creates a two-pronged impact: stifled creativity and stilted writing skills.

Strike a Balance

Given the pros and cons of reading model compositions for improving English compositions, how do we ensure that students walk the fine balance between them?

A. Stretch the reading: Instead of stopping with reading the model compositions, let the students rewrite different portions of the model compositions. They can extract any particular segment in the narrative and recreate another segment from ideas living in their imagination and dipping into their knowledge on language elements. Voila! An independent writing piece with a stamp of ownership.

B. Build a vocabulary word bank: Classifying vocabulary in categories of metaphors, similes, Show-Not-Tell expressions, synonyms, and so on goes a long way into building an efficient and handy word bank. Model compositions offer extensive tips on how to create magic with words and sentences. When vocabulary is clear cut, students acquire the flair to absorb and put it to good use.

C. Acronyms to the rescue: Sequencing the scenes or breaking a scene to the last detail for a more vivid imagery are stumbling blocks for many of the primary students. How can that be overcome? Creating acronyms to follow a pattern is one of the convenient writing methods. Students have the freedom to coin their own acronyms for ease of understanding. For example, an acronym may look like this:

E- Emotions (related to the characters)
A-Actions (associated with emotions of characters)
R-Reactions (of main/secondary/other characters)
N- Next (What happens next)

Students who follow such acronyms may be able to elaborate on details without missing any links in the compositions because of their clarity of thought.

At Write Edge, reading model English compositions are inbuilt into the curriculum as part of guided writing strategy. This writing technique lets students explore and emulate the model English compositions by shaping and redrafting the texts. The teacher interacts with students individually as well as with the entire class on the same writing piece at different stages by guiding them with prompts. Creativity flows out better eventually. Most importantly, students make a transition to independent writing and discover their own abilities.

Undoubtedly, writing more and more is the only way to write well!

Start your child’s journey in learning English Creative Writing with Write Edge. Parents can reach out to us to arrange a trial class to find out more.

In what ways do Primary and Secondary English Comprehension differ?

Secondary English Comprehension

Parents often wonder if there is a steep learning curve between the study of Primary School English and Secondary School English. This is because they tend to worry about whether their kids would be able to cope with the transition between different stages, and would like to know if they need to send them to tuition classes early on. For most students, the end goal of studying the secondary school syllabus is to prepare them for the GCE O Level examinations. Every student would desire to achieve the top A1 grade, especially since English is part of the L1R4 or L1R5 combination to qualify for further studies after secondary school. In this post, we will clarify the differences between a common point of assessment in both levels, namely the English Comprehension.

  1. There is a higher standard of the vocabulary used in Secondary English Comprehension. The progression in the standard between primary school to secondary school comes through the language in the comprehension texts. For students studying at the primary level, there is a strong focus in the building up of the student’s grammar That is why for the texts examined at the primary level, the vocabulary is often limited and simplified to make it more accessible to students. As such, the texts would often be extracted from a novel or a storybook that is written for younger audiences. This allows students to be able to understand the texts easily and therefore have confidence in responding to the questions posed. However, for students studying at the secondary level, they will deal with more advanced texts that challenge their understanding of the English language. Thus, certain words that are used within the texts may be unfamiliar to students, whereby they are unable to understand the meaning. This may prove daunting to some but with sufficient practice and exposure to more texts, the fear of the unknown can easily be overcome.
  2. The combination of texts across both formats of assessments differ. In Secondary English Comprehension, there are a total of three texts, namely Text 1: visual comprehension, Text 2: narrative text comprehension and Text 3: non-narrative text comprehension that is used to assess students.The difference lies in Text 3, the non-narrative text component that is assessed by Cambridge in the GCE O Level English Comprehension. As a non-narrative text, it is often an expository styled work that requires students to make use of the lines and phrases in the text with examples in their response. Students are also introduced to a brand-new component; an 80-word summary writing task which tests the abilities of students to concisely summarise about eight points into the word count, which is not present in the assessment of Primary English Comprehension. In this component, the specific skill that is tested is the student’s ability to paraphrase the given keywords with synonyms, which can prove to be challenging to students who do not possess a strong pool of vocabulary. At Write Edge, we train our students to be familiarised with wide ranges of vocabulary to better prepare them.
  3. The style of questioning across both formats of assessments differ, which requires students to learn new skillsets. Different text types would allow for different styles of questioning by examiners. In the GCE O Level English Comprehension, there tends to be a strong emphasis on the interpretation and inference, to understand the purpose and meaning behind the text. More often than not, the questions asked are non-literal and requires deeper thought and consideration by the students. This is obvious as many questions set by Cambridge are followed by the commonly seen statement of “Answer in your own words”, which requires students to interpret the text and infer meaning to come up with their responses, as opposed to copying off directly from the text. In recent years, Cambridge has also placed an increased emphasis on the use of literary devices, such as rhetorical devices, personification and oxymorons, which are commonly seen used in the comprehension questions.

There are clear differences when it comes to the English comprehension component at the primary and secondary level. However, the learning curve is not as steep as some imagine it to be. We should motivate our students to become more passionate towards learning English. As Barack Obama once said, “Reading is the gateway skill that makes all other learning possible”. As parents and educators, we should encourage the habit of reading in children from a young age as reading is a great tool that can promote creative thought and help to groom critical thinking.

At Write Edge, we encourage our students to take ownership of their learning, while providing them with the necessary materials and encouragement for them to explore the English language and fulfil their highest potential. Find out more about our Secondary English Classes here.

 

How Does Writing Skills Play an Important Role in Children’s Communication?

Writing Skills

Communication and writing-they are two sides of the same coin. Do you agree?

Writing is penning down thoughts while communication is the ability to convey thoughts or ideas. Both are intricately linked since children are taught how to use words, language and speech with flair all through their schooling years, thus paving the way for smart communication skills. As writing automatically adheres to the rudiments of speech and reading, effective writing skills is one of the basic requirements of effective communication.

Having said that, how does communication benefit children? Communication skills to a child is like sunshine to plants! Children bloom into happy and confident individuals with strong relationships, because they learn, make friends and enjoy success by communicating with the world in a more meaningful manner. On the contrary, poor communication skills reduces their ability to process and organise information, use vocabulary, or interact socially.

By imparting strong writing techniques to children, are we indirectly boosting the communication skills in children? We may reason it out in the following ways:

Better stories equate better articulation: Sounds preposterous? Not exactly if one thinks rationally about how stories are written in the first place. In order to pen coherent stories, children compartmentalise their thoughts and plan the ‘cause and effect’ flow. Keeping imagination at the forefront, they set out the beginning, rising action, climax, falling action and conclusion in a story without logical gaps. Such a parallel is distinctly seen when children with effective writing skills bracket their ideas or information as a prelude to communication so that they do not drift away from the topic on hand. As Jeff Bezos said, “when you write, you are forced to think and be more articulate.” When words on paper become fluent, they are automatically transferred into verbal communication each day. Celebrated leaders like Winston Churchill and Barack Obama, who had a gift with words, were prolific writers of books and articles, and they enthralled their audience with their inspiring speeches whenever they took the stage.

A voice to inner thoughts: What runs in your mind when you read a child’s writing about his or her innermost thoughts? Maybe, the child is trying to communicate his or her deep-seated fears, desires or opinions. This open communication enhances a child’s self-worth, a virtue that is more likely to yield better long-term life outcomes. Moreover, the innate confidence that exists in such reflections spills into conversations and positively challenges the child’s mind.

Powered up vocabulary: Vocabulary is the building blocks of language. If children patiently invest time and energy and choose impactful words and language techniques while writing, these filter into the children’s vocabulary over a course of time. Gradually, children unconsciously use them while speaking. In the same vein, any new vocabulary heard during the course of the day gets instilled in their pieces of writing.

Quick wit to the rescue: Tongue-tied for words in a high pressure situation? Quite embarrassing, especially for children with low self-esteem. There will frequently be surprising events, both in academic and personal life, that require children to think on their feet. If they struggle with poor communication skills during such situations, their confidence erodes over time so much so that they may become withdrawn and avoid social interactions. So, how do we ensure a smooth flow? Once again, writing comes to the rescue. An entire composition or article is required to be drafted in a short period of time on many occasions. The words will need to flow from the brain to the fingers — to the page — quickly. Frequent practice in speeding up the rate at which the brain processes and deals with the information smartens children during conversations in unexpected tightrope situations.

Knowledge base shored up: Is writing a stand-alone component? Often, children research on the subject topic to obtain background information or illustrate a point. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry-all kinds of genres create their own magic with unique writing styles. Children learn more about the world with each genre of writing. All these learnings keep snowballing into an important knowledge database. Anytime, the children may dip into this database to gather information for engaging in diverse and interesting communication. During conversations, such children stand out because they share unique perspectives about different topics and relate to others on a great number of levels. Consequently, they never feel left out of conversations!

Life’s ‘must-have’ preparatory skill: Don’t you agree that children, right from formative years, are being equipped to carve out successful careers looking forward? Irrespective of career choice, an effective communicator is valued the most in a workplace. Where does writing feature in this? What starts off as writing during academic pursuits like assignments, tests, worksheets, and compositions slowly escalate into something more mature like writing business emails and workplace presentations. All the finest qualities like articulation, confidence, quick wit, vocabulary, and reservoir of knowledge derived from effective writing skills offer a toolbox of strategies to excel professionally.

At Write Edge, teachers groom children to absorb useful writing techniques that fill up both the language and communication gaps to give them the much-needed advantage on many fronts- emotional, behavioural and education.

If you wish to find out more about the Creative Writing programmes at Write Edge, parents can reach out to us to arrange a trial class to find out more.

How Can You help Your Child Reap the Benefits of English Writing Classes?

English Writing Classes

Are you a parent who has dreams of seeing your offspring succeed in English writing? If so, you are not the only one! Since Singapore’s Primary English writing curriculum lays strong emphasis on writing skills, many parents harbour hopes and expectations that their children’s imagination which takes flight will be shaped and nurtured in English writing classes under the expert guidance of English tutors. Such a dream can come true only if parents and teachers join hands and become partners in the child’s learning journey. So, how do parents go about it?

1. Show that you care what your child writes

Appreciate the child’s creative ideas and stories in specific terms. To have an in-depth understanding of the child’s strengths and shortcomings, recognise precisely the child’s talent for creating unique characters, funny plots or terrific vocabulary. Once the child’s confidence levels rocket high, there is more enthusiasm for self-expression.

Encourage the children to read aloud their writing pieces. Listen carefully without interruption, and then pepper the children with questions about their writing. Why did the story start or end in a particular way? Is there any other way to make the conflict worse before it gets solved? Such questions not only compel the children to critically analyse their work, but it also lets them know that someone is paying attention to what they write.

Make a special ‘book’ out of their stories for display at prominent locations inside the house so that other family members can read and offer constructive feedback. What’s more, such an exhibition will get the children to take pride in their written work, which is vital for continued growth.

At Write Edge’s English writing classes, apart from targeted appreciation of good work, teachers give cues to the primary school children to induce ideas for generating good quality writing work. As a form of encouragement to produce quality work, best writing pieces of the students are prominently displayed in all centres. A drive to produce a story worthy to be noticed is thus instilled in all students.

2. Create different writing avenues

Collaborative writing journal. The name itself suggests that parents and children take turns to write their thoughts, feelings, stories, interesting observations or even dialogues in the same journal. Through this exercise, parents guide their children to expand vocabulary, improve spellings and to free up their thoughts for self-expression. When children feel a sense of ownership, they get fired up to edit their work responsibly.

Letter writing is becoming a lost art. Let parents hold on to it and give opportunities to their children to practise email or letter-writing correspondence with friends and family members. If the child also receives a email or card from time to time, the excitement becomes manifold.

3. Allocate space, time and resources for reading and writing

When primary school children indulge in writing assignments, designate a writing space that is relaxed with a bit of privacy, away from all the possible distractions. This way, their energies are channelised in one direction. Taking regular breaks and scaffolding the writing process works best for those with short-attention span.

Reading and writing require a lot of mental energy because it involves processing ideas, spelling, vocabulary and grammar simultaneously in one’s head. Hence, children should explore the literary world during times when they can relax, breathe, contemplate, and think freely. Having too many other things on hand will drain the children’s energy, so they often feel exhausted and negative when it comes to writing.

A reliable supply of sufficient stationery, vocabulary tools, grammar tools, and books for inspiration go a long way to motivate children to write productively. Encourage the children strongly to revise and improve on their first draft into a final draft, a much-need skill and effort that cannot be underestimated to improve writing.

At Write Edge’s English writing classes, primary school children build on the first draft of a story as a norm. They expand the content in their story segments wherever required, enhance language clarity, vary their sentence structures and highlight the impressive phrases as a form of revision.

4. Ask about the world

Arouse the child’s curiosity by asking thought-provoking questions about the community and the world at large. Such an activity sharpens the observation skills of primary school children, who subconsciously incorporate their understanding of the community in their writings at any given opportunity. For instance, parent-child discussions on charity drives will provide a wealth of writing matter about the purpose, benefactors, emotions, setting and its modus operandi to the child.

To put it in a nutshell, both parents and educators in English writing classes complement each other. Both have a shared responsibility to raise children of dogged determination to make their mark in writing. In this case, the ends justify the means.

5 Tips to Write an Impressive English Composition for Primary School

English Composition

Improving your English composition may seem like a daunting or even impossible task. Unsure where or how to even begin? It is not as tough as you might think! Here are some quick tips on how to put together a jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring composition.

5 Tips to Enhance Your Primary School English Composition:

  • A Well-Structured, Well-Developed plot

This is the first, perhaps most important thing when writing your composition. The plot of your story needs to have a logical flow so that your reader can follow along easily and be fully immersed in it. A basic plot of a composition would look like this:

Introduction Rising Action Climax Falling Action Conclusion

However, anyone can follow a simple plot outline. Here are two techniques you can apply to bring your composition from ‘ordinary’ to ‘impressive’:

Foreshadowing: Hint to the reader about a twist later in the story through a character’s thoughts, weather, or even stating that something is going to happen. E.g. ‘Dark storm clouds hung overhead like an omen.’ // ‘Little did she know that this was about to be an unforgettable day…’

Creating Suspense: Adding tension keeps your reader hooked onto your story and introducing problems that the character has to face in the Rising Action is the most common method. Aside from this, you can also create a sense of urgency by introducing a time constraint (e.g. having to escape the forest by sundown) or create mystery by not revealing everything at once (e.g. write the character’s reaction/thoughts before disclosing what happened).

  • Strong Characters/Characterisation

Characters are the next most crucial part of any narrative or descriptive composition. After all, they are the key to bringing your story to life. Your reader can best connect with your story if your characters are believable and relatable. Before you even start writing, think about your characters and assign character traits to them. Are they sassy and self-assured, or timid and soft-spoken?

Skills such as Show-Not-Tell (SNT) and using 5 Senses to describe your characters is especially vital in this regard. We want to avoid outright spelling out what qualities or emotions your character is trying to display. (E.g. ‘James was hot-tempered. He was getting very irritated.’) Instead, describing their actions/ behaviour (‘Do’), their appearance (‘Look’), or what they ‘Say’ helps to demonstrate them to the reader.

Will they jump straight into the fire to save a terrified, mewling kitten, or might they dawdle at the gates of a haunted house despite their friends’ coaxing? Depending on what you decide, the way they behave, speak, and think should reflect the character trait(s) you assigned to them.

  • Using Impressive Phrases

Using more sophisticated expressions is another great way of avoiding bland descriptions of an incident and capturing your reader’s attention. These include figurative language you can use, such as:

Metaphors: Compares one thing to another without the use of ‘like’ or ‘as’ (which are similes). E.g. ‘Students swarmed to the canteen.’

Hyperboles: Exaggerates an idea to emphasise a point. E.g. ‘The mirror shattered into a million shards.’

Personification: Describe inanimate objects as having human qualities. E.g. ‘The flowers danced in the wind.’

Varying the structure of a sentence can also help your composition seem more impressive. By changing the way you begin a sentence, your writing can feel smoother and less monotonous for.

E.g. Jenny dashed to the kitchen. She gulped down a glass of water. Dashing to the kitchen, Jenny gulped down a glass of water.

  • A Mature Conclusion

The conclusion of your story is just as, if not more important, than your introduction. It is here that you wrap up the narrative and ensure that you answer the question. In your conclusion, you can bring the story to a close in a mature way by sharing the thoughts or feelings of the character, and something that they had learned over the course of the story. For instance, in overcoming the hurdles he/she has faced, your character realised that he/she has grown to be more understanding or compassionate than when the story began.

You can also echo a thought or come back to the same setting as when you opened your story. This helps your story come full circle. It becomes easier for your reader to link your story to the beginning and compare how much your character has grown since then.

  • Personal Experiences

The best stories are ones that are written with conviction. In other words, when you believe in what you write, your reader comes to believe it too. Drawing from your personal experience(s) is one of the easiest ways to do this. This is because you understand how your character may feel or react to certain situations, which enables you to write more convincingly.

When you immerse yourself into your own story, your reader will also (more likely) be able to do so to. It becomes easier to relate to your character’s emotions and dilemmas and enjoy the story for what it is – more than a piece of paper to be graded.

With enough practice, you can build your writing potential. Don’t forget that it takes time to hone your craft. The key is to keep learning and keep writing. You can do it!

To find out more about what is taught at Write Edge, click here.

 

Effective Ways to Improve Primary School Creative Writing with Writing Skills

primary school creative writing

What’s in a name? Is creative writing all about writing fantasy stories that take root from one’s imagination or thematic stories crafted with a strong logical structure? Surprisingly, both kinds of writing would constitute creative writing. In fact, creative writing is not just restricted to stories. Instead, it encompasses all kinds of writing genres, be it poetry, play scripts and even song lyrics. Since creative writing has such a wide connotation, primary school children should adopt strong writing skills in connection with Creative Writing. Let us go through some of the proven methods in this direction.

1. Sources of inspiration for creative writing

Inspiration is the first step in creative writing. Everyday events are the simplest sources of inspiration. Let everyday places, people and conversations become stimulants for ideas, settings, characters and story plots. Even newspaper headlines, song lyrics and fascinating facts can spark story ideas. For example, a scientific fact like ‘Octopuses have 3 hearts’ may probably inspire fabricating an indecisive octopus’ character because it is unable to follow its 3 hearts!

Readers turn into writers – this is the hard truth. Reading lays the foundation for creativity that feeds writing since it opens up a child’s mind to a host of new ideas. Primary school students, who are avid readers, draw inspiration from their reading content, be it poetry, fiction or non-fiction. Favourite lines, personification, story starters, characters with strengths and flaws- all these can spur a child to mash up a story or poem and come up with their own spin-offs and sequels.

Today’s digital world has put video-based learning into the spotlight. In fact, short video clips complement reading to teach creative writing skills to primary school children. Video clips are chosen wisely to maximise learning outcomes. For instance, when video clips of characters from popular cartoon shows display Show-Not-Tell emotions like fear, children transform the visual images into written words.

Likewise, children can dissect the scenes of a video clip to learn how to pace their stories carefully. How effective can it be if children begin a story, and then quickly jump into the conflict, solve the conflict quickly and wrap up the story? This will certainly take all the excitement away! The key is to gradually build up the conflict by describing the setting and characters, make the conflict worse before proceeding to resolve it. Moreover, writing from different perspectives can also be effectively practised with video-based learning.

At Write Edge’s primary creative writing class, teachers guide the students to pace their stories carefully. Due to a personalised class setting, each student is shown how to add in more details to each of their story segments to create an impactful story eventually.

Read more about our creative writing classes here.

2. Emulation helps in stimulation – learning from other writers!

Famous writers have their own writing styles. For example, J.K. Rowling has a penchant for evoking magic in all her characters. Roald Dahl, with his keen sense of humour, brings his characters alive with strong descriptions so that readers can connect with them emotionally. The list does not stop with just fiction. Autobiographies like ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ throw light on moral values like courage and perseverance in the face of crisis. The impact of prominent authors on primary school children is tremendous. Before the children can develop their own styles, they generally emulate their favourite authors unconsciously to stimulate their creative writing skills. Die-hard fans of J.K.Rowling will create impressive magic spells and fantasy creatures with bizarre names in their stories. Similarly, admirers of Roald Dahl pepper their stories with high-powered descriptions.

Closer home, there must be opportunities for primary school children to have face-to-face conversations with everyday writers like a magazine or newspaper writer, poet or a regular blogger, and interview them on the nitty-gritty of creative writing. Such an exercise will have a profound influence in improving the writing skills of budding writers.

3. Writing plan makes all the difference

Ultimately, a lucid writing plan is the only difference between good and bad writers. An outline of a story on a template as a form of reference when actually writing the story ensures a progression of a seamless story. Once the children structure the story, it is easier to visualise the scenes and freeze them in their heads. At Write Edge’s primary creative writing classes, a plot plan includes events that will occur in the story along with checklists like 5-senses description, strong vocabulary, character descriptions and their emotions, and mature reflections to remind the children about their inclusion in their stories. Last but not the least, writing contests, as held in Write Edge, is another outlet for children to embrace different writing genres zealously.

One must remember that creative writing is not a stuff of dreams….it is real and is here to stay!

If you wish to find out more about the Creative Writing programmes at Write Edge, parents can reach out to us to arrange a trial class to find out more.

 

How Primary School Children Can Improve Their English Writing Skills

Writing is undeniably an integral part of our lives. Not only is mastering English vital in academics (i.e. acing examinations), it is a crucial building block for critical thinking and effective communication. Several studies even suggest that language potentially shapes the way we perceive space and time.

However, helping children improve their writing can seem like a daunting task. Parents are often left wondering where or how to begin. The solution parents frequently arrive at is to send children to English writing tuition. How can parents help their children along?

3 Ways to Improve Primary School English Writing:

  1. Plot Planning – Helping Children Get Started

Often, the hardest part of writing is getting started. Even the most seasoned of writers can feel intimidated when faced with a blank page. Exploring multiple angles and plot ideas with young writers equips them with the necessary scaffolding to begin crafting a story of their own. A clear guiding structure also ensures children learn how to form a well-developed, coherent narrative.

  1. Expand Students’ Repertoire

What truly sets apart exceptional students from the rest of the crowd is their ability to buttress their writing with (appropriately applied) skills. These skills not only serve to impress the reader, but ideally demonstrate an understanding of the nuances of language and how to wield it to suit their story. Some of these skills include –

  • Show-Not-Tell (SNT): Bring characters’ emotions and personalities to life by describing their actions or behaviour (“Do”), their appearance (“Look”), or what they “Say”. This helps students avoid one-dimensional descriptions in their narratives.
  • 5 Senses (5S): Young writers can immerse the reader in the landscape of their story by describing the setting and characters vividly.
  • Figurative Language: Inserting figurative language (such as metaphors, similes, hyperbole, personification, and so on) is one of the best ways to enhance students’ writing. Parents should expose children to a wide variety of impressive vocabulary and ensure they understand the context within which they are used.
  • Varied Sentence Structure (VSS): Another effective way to improve Primary school English writing is to introduce VSS. Alternating the length and structure of sentences transforms the rhythm of the child’s writing. This makes for a smoother, less monotonous read.

Find out more of what Write Edge teaches here.

  1. Balancing Structure and Creativity

This is arguably one of, if not the most important thing to look out for when teaching Primary school English Writing. While it is necessary to furnish students with appropriate handgrips as they go along, it is equally crucial to leave space for creativity and flexibility. This is one of the guiding principles of the pedagogy at Write Edge. The objective is to equip students without stifling the unique messages they may wish to voice when putting pen (or pencil) to paper.

However, building language and writing skills is arguably an ongoing process rather than something taught solely within a weekly 1.5-hour enrichment class. Providing the space for students to hone their writing on a regular basis is key in helping them retain and apply knowledge. How else can parents consistently guide Primary school children in their writing?

3 Day-to-day Strategies:

  1. Reading Voraciously

Although a common prescription by experts, this age-old recommendation remains relevant. Reading a wide variety of material not only exposes children to new vocabulary, sentence structures, and ideas, they can observe the appropriate contexts in which these are used. Furthermore, reading non-fiction refines children’s understanding of various subjects and equips them with the words to describe the world around them.

  1. Writing for Leisure

Writing during down time, such as journaling or writing emails and letters, helps children develop the habit of penning down their thoughts in a coherent manner. This fosters children’s ability to reflect on their experiences and communicate them well. Notably, this also heightens children’s awareness of the various functions and audiences of writing and improves mastery of English as a medium of communication.

  1. Reviewing Their Work

The final strategy is to encourage children to read over their own work. By sitting down with them and reviewing their work together, children can learn how to identify and correct errors in their writing such as awkward expressions, grammatical errors or spelling errors.

Note: Avoid pointing out mistakes immediately. Rather, draw the child’s attention to the portion in question and have them read it aloud to identify the error.

We hope these practical tips can help strengthen students’ English writing. Importantly, the aim of assisting children in their writing journey is to equip them with the necessary skills for critical thinking and effective communication, rather than simply regurgitating impressive phrases or blindly following a template. Allowance must be made for creativity and expression; for children to discover the joy of weaving words into a tapestry and a story of their own.

Click here to find out more about the Creative Writing Programmes at Write Edge.