Composition writing is an important component of a child’s ability to enjoy and excel in the English language. Here are some helpful hints from veteran educator Helen Marjan, who used to head Lorna Whiston Schools.
Encourage your child to read a broad range of narratives. Guide him in analysing how writers use words to create certain effects. Children can be inspired to imitate ideas gleaned from the books he reads.
Open with a bang
Focus on finding an initial opening for the story that acts as an invitation to read more. A story start can be dramatic, an interesting introduction to the main characters, or an exclamation which will draw the reader straight into the action.
We all know how it feels if we miss the ending of a story. An ending can take the form of a moral point, an indication of what has been learned through the story, or a hint of what might happen in the future.
Flesh out the characters
Think in-depth about the characters in the story. Develop their personalities through vivid descriptions, dialogue, the names they are given and their actions and behaviour.
Write it differently
Think of different ways to make a boring sentence more interesting. Try including adverbs, adjectives, lively vocabulary, and alternative verbs. Children and young people can note down “effective” words in a writing journal or vocabulary book.
Use a story planner
Think of the following key questions:
- Who – are the characters?
- Where – does the story take place?
- Why – are the characters there?
- When – does it happen? Time, weather, etc.
- What – happens to get the story going?
- How – will it be written? “I”, “She/He”, present or past tense?
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A version of this article first appeared in Young Parents.