In order to develop writing skills in our children, most schools require them to write compositions or essays about certain subjects. These essays, whether narrative, descriptive, expository or persuasive in form, help our children to practise writing skills. In essence, composition writing is a channel where they can express their thoughts and feelings in written form.
Students usually get their first taste of formal composition writing in primary school. However, there are several hurdles that they may encounter as they navigate the intricacies of essay writing. Here are some possible challenges and ways that can help to overcome them:
Five Key Challenges in Writing Compositions
1. Generating ideas
The best way to generate ideas is to brainstorm. Clearly mapping ideas and then determining which ones are more relevant than others are especially helpful. Mastering techniques such as mind maps is essential to ensure success as they allow organisation of arguments and structure compositions effectively.
2. Supporting ideas with clear evidential points
As ideas are mapped out, it is a good idea to also map out supporting evidence. This determines which ideas may provide more information to write about. It also helps determine which arguments are more valid and which seem thin or weak. Adding clear evidence to a point bolsters that point and makes it stronger in the eyes of the reader.
3. Linking ideas back to the main idea of an essay
This is essential in showing the reader the connection between evidence and ideas as it is added to build the ‘bigger picture’. It is important to show that ideas are not tangential and that they build towards answering a larger question.
4. Utilising literary techniques in a natural way, i.e. not memorising phrases in a rote manner and regurgitating them
The worst essays contain regurgitated phrases that have been crowbarred into the composition. Often the memorised phrases stick out like a sore thumb mostly because they aren’t accurately used and therefore seem forced and artificial.
5. Planning and organising ideas into a coherent flowing structure
As with generating ideas above, tell your child to be prepared to brainstorm and create a plan of action for a composition. Remind your child to not just rely on his or her own ideas but to also ask friends for theirs. Sometimes, group planning can generate better compositions as the ideas show multiple perspectives and are more creative with a greater variety of thought and rhetoric on display.
Five Ways to Make a Composition Outstanding
1. Range of expression and grammatical structure
A wide range of grammatical structures showcases English language ability more effectively. If your child wants to impress the teacher, remind him or her to be more experimental and try to use compound and complex sentences in writing tasks.
2. Experimentation with interesting uses of language
Be creative with language choices. Interesting vocabulary and playful use of allusion and other linguistic devices can help create atmosphere in your child’s work.
3. Exploring stylistic devices, such as the five senses, rule of three, and flashback
Learning to use devices such as these can add variety. This has an impact on the reader and leads to a favourable impression of the writer as well as generating a more exciting mood and tone.
4. Utilising figurative language, for example, onomatopoeia, simile, metaphor, pathetic fallacy
Mastering these kinds of techniques is essential to create a rich tapestry of language that engages and immerses the reader in the writer’s vision. The use of interesting literary devices which generate powerful imagery add to the teacher’s impression that the writer is a confident and masterful user of the English language.
5. Clear supported arguments with a recognisable structure (Point, Elaborate, Example, Link)
Using a clear structure helps the reader to follow the ideas the writer wishes to convey. A clearly outlined essay structure moves the reader through a well-signposted journey. The clarity of the message cannot be mistaken.
With these guidelines, you can help your child navigate the road to better composition writing. Having in mind that writing goes in hand in hand with reading will also help. The more your child reads, the more information he or she is exposed to, which in turn may lead him or her to write about a vast array of topics.
Our role as parents is to guide and support our youngsters. By explaining the abovementioned tips to them and guiding them through exercises, we may be assured that they will have an easier time composing their academic essays and excel in school.