Composition Writing: A Step-by-Step Guide
As a student, you’ve likely done composition writing, even if the assignments weren’t specifically labeled as compositions.
The truth is, it can be challenging to answer the question, What is composition writing? Here is the concise definition of “composition”: the way a writer crafts words, sentences, and paragraphs to create a coherent work. More broadly, composition writing covers all the kinds of writing you’ll encounter as a student and the strategies you use to write each type capably. Give your writing extra polish Grammarly helps you communicate confidently Write with Grammarly
What is composition writing?
Composition can mean two things. It can mean a piece of writing, or it can mean the art and process of writing. Composition isn’t a specific type of writing like an essay or a blog post. Instead, it’s a broad term that can refer to any (usually nonfiction) work and how a piece is written. Under the first definition, you might be asked to write a composition for class. Using the second definition, somebody might refer to “the essay’s composition” to discuss the format and word choice its author used. A composition is not the same as an essay. Here’s one area where the definition of composition writing can be confusing—an essay is a kind of composition, but the terms aren’t interchangeable. Every essay is a composition, but not every composition is an essay. A composition can also be a book report, a presentation, a short response to a reading assignment, or a research paper.
The four modes of composition
There are four types of composition:
Do these sound familiar?
They’re the four types of writing. Essentially, the definition of “composition writing” is the tone and structure a writer uses to express their position . When a composition is a work of fiction, its author typically chooses the composition mode that best expresses the work’s theme. Think of each of these as a composition writing format. You might use more than one of these composition modes in a single piece of writing.
A description is a piece of writing that makes a clear statement about its subject. Here is an example of a description:
Water, chemical symbol H2O, is a clear, colorless liquid that has a freezing point of 0 degrees Celsius and a boiling point of 100 degrees Celsius. Water is the most abundant atom in our atmosphere. All life-forms on Earth need water.
A description doesn’t speculate or offer up opinions or interpretations. It simply states the facts.
Exposition is an interpretation of the facts. It expands on a description by introducing additional facts that shed light on how the subject fits into a larger discussion. It might explore related facts and what they imply and/or pivot to related topics through thoughtful transition sentences and extrapolation. It’s still grounded in fact; an exposition doesn’t include its author’s opinions on the subject. Take a look at this example:
Although water is the most abundant atom in our atmosphere, entire regions are devastated by yearly droughts. These droughts can lead to mass starvation due to crop loss. Switching to more sustainable agricultural practices can reduce the impact of droughts, and doing this successfully requires cooperation between governments and corporations.
Narration is the mode of writing that presents the author’s point of view. The writing is still about its subject rather than its author, but it discusses and explores the subject through the author’s description of their experience. Here is an example of narrative writing:
I’ve always had a healthy respect for water, and I’d say that comes from an experience with it I had as a small child. It was a delightful summer day and my family decided to take the boat out. But then the sky suddenly turned gray, and our delightful summer day became a terrifying summer thunderstorm, with forceful winds pushing the boat as my brother and I tried to bail the pooling rainwater out with buckets.
See how this example is about the author’s thoughts and feelings about water, whereas description and exposition stick to objective facts? Personal essays are perhaps the most common type of narration composition.
The last type, argumentation , isn’t really argumentative. Rather, it’s similar to a persuasive essay . In an argumentation composition, the writer presents two or more positions on an issue and, through a logical exploration of each, demonstrates why one position is the best choice. Take a look at this example:
Researchers have identified multiple strategies we can use to prevent droughts. These include rainwater harvesting, desalination, switching to renewable energy sources, and combating deforestation. These strategies have different success rates . . .
In this example, the writer would go on to compare these different drought prevention strategies and their recorded success rates.
When do you write a composition?
You might be asked to write a composition as part of a composition writing course. It’s not uncommon for students to be required to take courses that focus solely on composition writing, often early on in their college careers, to prepare them for the writing they’ll do in other courses later.
Your instructor might also assign you to write a composition when the assignment doesn’t quite fit the parameters of an essay or other established academic writing format. This might be because the assignment is primarily to give your opinion or perspective rather than support a specific position with evidence. You might also be asked to write a composition as a way to practice writing in one of the compositional modes we discussed above.
How to write a composition in 5 steps
As we mentioned above, composition writing is a broad subject. There is no specific composition writing format, nor are you limited to any specific composition writing topics.
If your composition is an essay—and often, this is the case—follow the standard essay format unless your instructor tells you to follow a different format.
Composition writing follows the same writing process as every other kind of writing. Here are the steps:
Before you can start writing, you need to figure out what you’re going to write about! When you brainstorm, that’s exactly what you do. Take some time to think about your subject, the compositional mode you’re writing in, and the sources you’re using (if your assignment requires sources) to support your position.
Jot down every idea, relevant fact, and connection you come across. You can also give freewriting a try as you brainstorm to see how your mind wanders through your subject and sources. Take your time with brainstorming because this is the stage where you might come across the perfect topic sentence and make connections among sources you might not have realized before.
The next step in the writing process is creating an outline . This is a basic framework for your composition.
An outline helps you organize your composition by giving you a visual overview of its flow. Depending on your assignment and instructor, you might be required to submit your outline and have it approved before moving forward with your composition. Even if you aren’t, it can be very helpful to create an outline so you have something to follow and refer to when writing and editing.
3 First draft
Finally, it’s time to do some composition writing!
Using your brainstorming notes and outline, write your composition. Keep in mind that you don’t have to write it in order—in fact, it can be helpful to start with whichever part you find easiest to write, like the conclusion or one of the supporting paragraphs, and build it out from there.
Don’t worry too much about making grammatical mistakes at this stage. You’ll fix those when you edit your draft. Similarly, if a sentence or paragraph feels awkward, out of place, or otherwise not quite right, don’t dwell on it now. That, too, is something you’ll smooth out when you edit. When you’re writing your first draft, just focus on getting the words out of your brain and into your composition.
If you didn’t come up with a title when you brainstormed or outlined, you might be able to write a clever one once you have a finished draft.
With the first draft down, give yourself a break. You’re a better editor when you come back to your work with fresh eyes, so take a few hours—ideally, twenty-four hours or so—to work on other projects or spend some time relaxing.
Once your break is over, read your draft again. Take note of all the grammatical mistakes and which words, sentences, and paragraphs feel off. Grammarly can help you catch mistakes at this stage.
Beyond any small edits like changing word choices, fixing grammatical mistakes, and smoothing out transitions between sentences and sections, look at the bigger picture. Try to see if there are any logical fallacies in your work or if there are areas where you can dive deeper into your subject. Editing is a holistic process, so pay attention to all the parts of your composition and how they work together.
Through the editing process, you’ll end up with a second draft. At this stage, you’re almost ready to submit your work.
After editing your work, proofread it! This is the last look-over before you submit your composition to your instructor.
At this stage, you’re primarily focused on catching any grammar , syntax, or spelling mistakes that can be fixed easily. When you edited your work, you did the heavy lifting of transforming a first draft into a second draft. Through that stage, you might have added new sentences or reworked existing ones. At this stage, check and see if you made any mistakes in those new sentences or if you overlooked any mistakes in lines you kept from the first draft.
Let Grammarly have another look at it too. Grammarly makes suggestions you can use to make your work stronger, like offering fixes to grammatical mistakes and ways you can make your work’s tone more cohesive.
After proofreading your work and fixing any mistakes, you’ve got a finished, ready-to-submit second draft! The only thing left to do is turn it in to your instructor and wait for their feedback.
Composition writing FAQs
Composition writing is the organization and process of creating a piece of writing. It broadly refers to all the kinds of writing a student may be assigned, which are typically types of writing like essays and reports.
What are the different kinds of composition?
The four kinds of composition are:
How is composition writing structured?
There is no specific composition writing format. However, compositions typically follow a similar format as essays. Most compositions begin with an introduction that includes the work’s thesis, which is then followed by supporting paragraphs containing evidence from the sources the writer used in their research. After these supporting paragraphs, most compositions end with a conclusion that reiterates each point made and offers a new, final thought on the subject.
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8 Steps to Write a Good Composition (part 1)
Are you having trouble with your writing skills? Read this and you will find good and simple advice to make things much easier and your compositions much better. Even impressive. Just follow the 8 steps we will show you.
The first thing to consider is that a composition is not simply a piece of writing. It must be composed, it must have a structure and a cohesive organisation. Compare these two examples:
A- My brother’s tall and handsome and with blue eyes and, yeah, well, maybe a bit fat, but not much, you know, something like your cousin, but maybe not that much. And he’s very funny, ha ha, I’ll tell you about what he did yesterday, but not now. And brown-haired. Almost dark. Well, not dark but… well, yeah, dark. Oh, I said funny, but well, when he’s got a bad day, uff, he scares me sometimes…
B- My brother is tall, handsome and has got blue eyes. He is a little fat, but not much. His hair is dark brown. I like him because he is very funny and always makes me laugh. Nevertheless, he can also be quite serious sometimes.
As you can easily perceive, A is a good example of oral English, but it would be totally unacceptable for a composition. On the other hand, B is the right thing to say when writing, with simple, organised ideas. But B would be considered too pedantic and even unacceptable when talking in a normal conversation.
Using a correct language is part of it, but not enough. Both A and B are correct language, but Spoken and Written language are different, they use, to some extent, different vocabulary, different grammar and, especially, a different way to express things!
Many think that planning is a waste of time, especially if you are sitting for an exam and time is limited. But the truth is that planning your composition will not only make the task easy and much better; it will also make it all faster. At least once you have practised a little bit.
First, you have to know what topic you’re going to write about. In most situations you will already know this when you sit down to write. And then, you must start making an outline:
1- opening sentence = topic + approach 2- ideas connected to the opening sentence 3- details about those ideas 4- closing sentence
When you are happy with the outline, it comes the time to do the writing, and here you should follow these other 4 steps:
5- write a title 6- organize ideas into paragraphs 7- write the composition 8- correct your composition
In this article we well help you to make a good outline, which is the basis of this method. We will complete the 8 steps in a second article (see part 2, to be published very soon). So let’s get started.
1- topic + approach = opening sentence (O.S.)
Think of the opening sentence as a little perfume bottle: the topic is the material (the glass), the approach is the shape of the glass, and all the composition will be the perfume inside the bottle. If some perfume falls outside the bottle, it will evaporate (and spoil your composition).
Think of a word or several words that will identify the topic. Think of a word or several words that will identify the approach. The topic is what your composition is about. Your approach is usually what your opinion about the topic is, or just the way you see it, or what you want to say about that topic. When you have the topic and the approach, write the opening sentence with both ideas.
Topic - Life in a village Approach - better than cities Opening sentence - Nowadays, most people prefer living in cities, but I prefer to live in a village because life there is much better and healthy.
Another example of O.S.- Life in a village is very different from life in the city. (topic: life in a village / approach: different from city)
2- ideas (points) connected to the opening sentence
Example of good points:
- no pollution
- people know each other
- friendly people
- contact with nature
- life is cheaper
Example of bad points:
- I live in Rome (not relevant to the O.S.)
- Villages in the south of Spain are bigger than in the north (wrong, we must compare life in the village with life in the city, not comparing different villages)
- Last year I visited a very beautiful village (not relevant to the O.S.)
- Night life is boring (it contradicts the O.S. unless you compensate this with a “but…”)
- People gossip and are nosy and messes with your life (modifies or contradicts the idea in the O.S.)
- In the 14 th century many villages were created (who cares? We’re not talking about history)
- My friend Tom lives in a village (not relevant, unless you use Tom’s opinion to support yours)
- My friend Tom, from a village, is very friendly (digression: this idea is not directly connected with the O.S.. It is directly connected to the point “friendly people” and only indirectly connected to the O.S., so it’s no good)
3- details about the points
Each point is the seed of a future paragraph (or section or chapter, if it is a long writing). For every point, think of a few details to explain that idea.
Example: - friendly people
- people help you
- people talk to you in the streets
- people invite you to a drink in the bars
4- closing sentence
1- a restatement of the opening sentence (you say the same idea but using different words) Example: There’s no doubt about it: life in a village is much better than life in a city .
2- a summary of the points (ideas) . Example: With a cheaper life, a close contact with nature, a healthy environment and surrounded by nice people, villages are the ideal place to live .
3- a look to the future . Example: I really think I should leave the city and look for a nice house in a village as soon as possible .
4- a related thought that grows out of the body (usually a conclusion from the points). Example: That’s why our urban societies are more efficient, but its people are less human .
5- mixed type (a combination of several types of conclusions) Example: That’s why I’m planning to move to a village, because life there is much better than in the cities (type 3 + type 1, even the whole sentence can be an example of type 4)
So if you follow this advice, you will find that writing turns easier and the results are much better than when you simply sit and write. Just remember the bottle of perfume:
- The glass : The opening sentence. Your first sentence, which will contain all the ideas of your piece of writing inside.
- The perfume : All the things you have to say. Don’t let even a drop fall outside the bottle.
- The cap : The last sentence in your composition. The one that will close it and make it a finished piece of work.
Once you have a good outline, you must use it to write your composition, essay or whatever you must write. Things are now much easier when you know all the time exactly what you have to say, confident that you’ll never get tangled, blocked or messed up in your writing. We can also guide you in this second phase (steps 5-8), but that will be in our next article:
8 Steps to Write a Good Composition (part 2)
Written by Angel Castaño
How to Write a 5 Paragraph Essay for English Composition 101
While the five-paragraph essay may be the primary structure for high school writing, college composition classes frequently take the assignment to the next level. Traditionally consisting of an introduction, three body paragraphs and a conclusion, the college version of this assignment expands on these skills by encouraging students to focus less on following a formula and more on creating well-researched, fluent writing. Although the five-paragraph structure you know from high school provides some useful basics, college writing will transform this relatively simple structure into a sophisticated, well-developed paper that meet the audience's specific needs.
Explore this article
- Craft a Catchy Hook
- Develop Your Thesis Statement
- Transition with Topic Sentences
- Give Clear Examples
- Close with More Than Just Summary
1 Craft a Catchy Hook
College writing classes often focus on showing students how to create a relationship with their readers and consider their audience's needs. As a result, the introduction's job in a college essay is not only to grab readers' attention and inspire them to keep reading, but reveal why they should care about your topic . Find a way to introduce the topic that inspires this response in your audience. If you're writing a personal essay about your experiences in high school drama club, for example, you might open with a description of taking a bow with the cast at the end of opening night. If you're writing a persuasive essay about distracted driving, you might present a startling statistic or true story about texting on the road.
2 Develop Your Thesis Statement
In the five-paragraph essay, the thesis statement identifies the central theme of your paper and previews your main points. It usually states your essay's claim, then follows with three reasons for it. One weakness of the high school five-paragraph essay is that students tend to write vague thesis statements that rarely go beyond making an obvious point. In a college essay, the thesis should be clear, specific and detailed, introducing both the topic and its significance. The drama club essay's thesis might state, "Participating in drama club prepared me for college and future career opportunities by forcing me to overcome my shyness, teaching me better teamwork skills and giving me stronger communication skills."
3 Transition with Topic Sentences
The three body paragraphs of your essay all follow the same pattern. First, you'll begin with a topic sentence that introduces the subject of the paragraph . For example, the first topic sentence in the drama club essay might read, "While I almost didn't join drama club because of my shyness, getting involved ultimately helped me overcome my fears." As you move into your second and third paragraphs, using transitions like "In addition," "Also" and "Next" can link your paragraphs and ideas together. In your past five-paragraph essays, your high school teachers may have required you to structure the body as three distinct paragraphs. In college writing classes, feel free to divide them up to make the essay easier to follow and less overwhelming for readers.
4 Give Clear Examples
College writing places a strong emphasis on not just making claims, but providing solid, credible evidence to verify them. In each body paragraph, your topic sentence should follow up with clear, specific examples and details that illustrate that paragraph's main point. For example, in the drama essay, you might follow the first paragraph's topic sentence about overcoming shyness with a brief description of the first time you auditioned for a play in spite of your fears and how each acting experience you've had has chipped away some of your insecurity. If you're writing a persuasive essay, you'll have to supply statistics, examples and data from sources like journal articles, government reports and academic studies to back up your ideas.
5 Close with More Than Just Summary
The phrase "In conclusion" might have been an acceptable opening for your last paragraph in high school, but college instructors expect you to think critically about why your topic matters, not just reiterate your main points. Just as you should speculate about why your topic might be relevant to your audience before you write your introduction, your conclusion should ultimately address the question of what readers have learned . Your conclusion should be more than just an afterthought that summarizes your three main points; instead, it should reflect on the significance of the topic beyond the context of the essay. For example, the essay about distracted driving might include a call to action for readers to put away their phones while on the road.
- 1 State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota: Formulas and Definitions for the 5 Paragraph Essay
- 2 Bucks County Community College Tutoring Center: Graphic Organizer for a Five Paragraph Essay
- 3 California State University: Welcome to College: Say Goodbye to the Five Paragraph Essay
- 4 University of Kentucky: Introducing the College Essay Model
- 5 Ithaca College: First-Year Composition
About the Author
Kori Morgan holds a Bachelor of Arts in professional writing and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has been crafting online and print educational materials since 2006. She taught creative writing and composition at West Virginia University and the University of Akron and her fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals.
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Transitions For Essays
Attention Grabbing Techniques for Essay Writing
How to Write a Timed Essay
The Difference Between High School and College Essays
How to Write a Discursive Essay
What Is a Thesis Statement?
What Are Good College Essays?
How to Write an Introduction
How to Organize Ideas for Writing
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How to Write a Rough Draft
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How to Write a Hook for an Essay
How to Introduce a Famous Person
How to Write an Effective Intro Paragraph
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How to Write Personal Narratives
How to Write an Opinion Paper for College
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Module 6: The Writing Process
Common essay structures, learning objectives.
- Examine the structure and organization of common types of essays
Suggested Essay Structure
What are we talking about when we talk about essay structures ? Depending on the assignment, you will need to utilize different ways to organize your essays. Some common layouts for essay organization are listed below, and if you are ever confused on which structure you should use for your assignment, ask your teacher for help.
In an argumentative essay, you are asked to take a stance about an issue. One effective way to argue a point can be to present the opposing view first, usually in your introduction paragraph, then counter this view with stronger evidence in your essay. You can also explain your argument and claims, then address the opposing view at the end of your paper, or you could address opposing views one at a time, including the rebuttal throughout your paper.
Argumentative Essay: Block Format
- provides background information on topic
- states of your position on the topic (thesis)
- summarizes arguments
- Topic sentence outlining first claim
- Sentences giving explanations and providing evidence to support topic sentence
- Concluding sentence – link to next paragraph
- Topic sentence outlining second claim
- Sentences giving explanations and providing evidence to back topic sentence
- Topic sentence outlining any possible counterarguments
- Provide evidence to refute counterarguments
- Summary of the main points of the body
- Restatement of the position
Argumentative Essay: Rebuttal Throughout
This type of format works well for topics that have obvious pros and cons.
- Introduction and Thesis
- Topic sentence outlining first rebuttal
- Opposing Viewpoint
- Statistics and facts to support your side
- Summary of the main arguments and counterarguments
The Comparative Essay
Comparative essays compare , compare and contrast , or differentiate between things and concepts. In this structure, the similarities and/or differences between two or more items (for example, theories or models) are discussed paragraph by paragraph. Your assignment task may require you to make a recommendation about the suitability of the items you are comparing.
There are two basic formats for the compare/contrast essay: block or point-by-point. Block divides the essay in half with the first set of paragraphs covering one item, the other set of paragraphs covering the other item. Let’s take a look at an example about cameras. If the writer is contrasting a Nikon DSLR camera with a similar priced Canon DSLR camera, the first set of paragraphs would cover Nikon and the next set would cover Canon. In point-by-point, the writer would cover the two items alternating in each point of comparison (see examples in outlines below).
Comparative Essay: Block Method
- Introduction and thesis
- Image Quality
- Shutter Speed
- The Auto-focus System
Comparative Essay: Point-by-Point Method
- Nikon D7000
Cause and Effect Essay
Examples of cause and effect essays include questions that ask you to state or investigate the effects or outline the causes of the topic. This may be, for example, a historical event, the implementation of a policy, a medical condition, or a natural disaster. These essays may be structured in one of two ways: either the causes(s) of a situation may be discussed first followed by the effect(s), or the effect(s) could come first with the discussion working back to outline the cause(s). Sometimes with cause and effect essays, you are required to give an assessment of the overall effects of an event on a community, a workplace, an individual.
Cause and Effect Essay Format
- Background information on the situation under discussion
- Description of the situation
- Overview of the causes or effects to be outlined
- Topic sentence outlining first cause or effect
- Sentences giving explanations and providing evidence to support the topic sentence
- Concluding sentence – linking to the next paragraph
- Topic sentence outlining second cause or effect
- These follow the same structure for as many causes or effects as you need to outline
- Conclusion, prediction or recommendation
Mixed Structure Assignment
Finally, consider that some essay assignments may ask you to combine approaches. You will rarely follow the above outlines with exactness, but can use the outlines and templates of common rhetorical patterns to help shape your essay. Remember that the ultimate goal is to construct a smooth and coherent message with information that flows nicely from one paragraph to the next.
There are several different styles to choose from when constructing a mixed-structure essay. The table below gives an idea of what different roles paragraphs can play in a mixed-structure essay assignment.
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How to Write a Composition
Do you want to excel in your English Language subject or exceed everyone’s expectations while taking an exam? Then you need to know how to prepare a great composition!
Compositions happen to be one of the most important aspects of learning the English Language. However, the task can be challenging and stressful in a sense that the topics are wide-ranging and the requirements are always strict. Don’t worry if you are not completely sure how to express your opinion on a particular topic correctly. With a few tips and tricks, you’ll be able to prepare the most effective writing piece whenever you need.
Effective Planning Gives Right Direction
Planning is very important for preparing a great composition. It aids in organizing your thoughts, keeps good control over the writing process, motivates to write better and faster, and helps to keep on track.
To be more prepared for starting to write your composition, you need to answer the 5 W’s and 1 H:
1. Who is the main character of your story? 2. Where do the events take place? 3. When does it happen? 4. What happened? 5. Why did it occur? 6. How was everything solved?
After answering these questions and identifying the main purpose of your composition (to inform, persuade, entertain, call attention to something), you can proceed to writing.
Use a Common Composition Structure
When writing a composition, it is essential to know its main parts. A typical composition in the English Language consists of the heading, introduction, main body and conclusion.
When choosing a title for your composition, make sure it relates to the presented content. Keep it short and catchy to grab the reader’s attention at once. A good title can range from two to several words and it is not recommended to use a heading that looks like a long and complex sentence.
The next important thing after the heading is the introductory paragraph. It basically lets the reader find out what your composition is about and makes him or her follow to the main part. Therefore, make sure that your introduction:
- is interesting enough to hook the reader’s attention;
- prepares your reader for what is to follow;
- lets your reader know what your composition will be about;
- is clear and not too lengthy.
If your introduction fails to catch the reader’s attention, then you’ve done not a great job. Consider to insert a dialogue, intriguing facts, shocking information or a joke to grab the reader’s interest.
After the introductory paragraph, make a smooth transition to the main part of your composition. This is the part where the main story develops. A good body should support the statement you’ve made in your introduction. It is where you express your feelings, thoughts and ideas on a particular topic.
While writing, keep the following things in mind:
- keep the sentences simple and short for your reader to easily follow your thoughts;
- avoid complex structures and expressions;
- use transitional words and phrases to connect the sentences and paragraphs.
Remember that the main body is the heart of your composition, that’s why state the main points consistently and reasonably.
The conclusion is the last but not the least part of your composition. Never end your story abruptly, take time to beautifully conclude your work. Make sure that the last paragraph of your composition is simple and summarizes the main idea of your writing piece, not presents new points and opinions. This is a vital aspect of your composition, so it shouldn’t be underestimated.
Pointers to Good Composition Writing
Take note of the following things while writing your composition:
1. Your writing should be concise, vivid and sharp. 2. Never use the slang if it doesn’t fit the format of your composition. 3. Don’t use the words if you are not sure about their meaning. 4. Keep your sentences short and not overwhelming. 5. Take care to do a clear and consistent point of view.
Revise your story once it is completed to make sure that you’ve prepared a masterpiece!
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The Beginner's Guide to Writing an Essay | Steps & Examples
An academic essay is a focused piece of writing that develops an idea or argument using evidence, analysis, and interpretation.
There are many types of essays you might write as a student. The content and length of an essay depends on your level, subject of study, and course requirements. However, most essays at university level are argumentative — they aim to persuade the reader of a particular position or perspective on a topic.
The essay writing process consists of three main stages:
- Preparation: Decide on your topic, do your research, and create an essay outline.
- Writing : Set out your argument in the introduction, develop it with evidence in the main body, and wrap it up with a conclusion.
- Revision: Check the content, organization, grammar, spelling, and formatting of your essay.
Table of contents
Essay writing process, preparation for writing an essay, writing the introduction, writing the main body, writing the conclusion, essay checklist, lecture slides, frequently asked questions about writing an essay.
The writing process of preparation, writing, and revisions applies to every essay or paper, but the time and effort spent on each stage depends on the type of essay .
For example, if you’ve been assigned a five-paragraph expository essay for a high school class, you’ll probably spend the most time on the writing stage; for a college-level argumentative essay , on the other hand, you’ll need to spend more time researching your topic and developing an original argument before you start writing.
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Before you start writing, you should make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to say and how you’re going to say it. There are a few key steps you can follow to make sure you’re prepared:
- Understand your assignment: What is the goal of this essay? What is the length and deadline of the assignment? Is there anything you need to clarify with your teacher or professor?
- Define a topic: If you’re allowed to choose your own topic , try to pick something that you already know a bit about and that will hold your interest.
- Do your research: Read primary and secondary sources and take notes to help you work out your position and angle on the topic. You’ll use these as evidence for your points.
- Come up with a thesis: The thesis is the central point or argument that you want to make. A clear thesis is essential for a focused essay—you should keep referring back to it as you write.
- Create an outline: Map out the rough structure of your essay in an outline . This makes it easier to start writing and keeps you on track as you go.
Once you’ve got a clear idea of what you want to discuss, in what order, and what evidence you’ll use, you’re ready to start writing.
The introduction sets the tone for your essay. It should grab the reader’s interest and inform them of what to expect. The introduction generally comprises 10–20% of the text.
1. Hook your reader
The first sentence of the introduction should pique your reader’s interest and curiosity. This sentence is sometimes called the hook. It might be an intriguing question, a surprising fact, or a bold statement emphasizing the relevance of the topic.
Let’s say we’re writing an essay about the development of Braille (the raised-dot reading and writing system used by visually impaired people). Our hook can make a strong statement about the topic:
The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability.
2. Provide background on your topic
Next, it’s important to give context that will help your reader understand your argument. This might involve providing background information, giving an overview of important academic work or debates on the topic, and explaining difficult terms. Don’t provide too much detail in the introduction—you can elaborate in the body of your essay.
3. Present the thesis statement
Next, you should formulate your thesis statement— the central argument you’re going to make. The thesis statement provides focus and signals your position on the topic. It is usually one or two sentences long. The thesis statement for our essay on Braille could look like this:
As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness.
4. Map the structure
In longer essays, you can end the introduction by briefly describing what will be covered in each part of the essay. This guides the reader through your structure and gives a preview of how your argument will develop.
The invention of Braille marked a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by blind and visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.
Write your essay introduction
The body of your essay is where you make arguments supporting your thesis, provide evidence, and develop your ideas. Its purpose is to present, interpret, and analyze the information and sources you have gathered to support your argument.
Length of the body text
The length of the body depends on the type of essay. On average, the body comprises 60–80% of your essay. For a high school essay, this could be just three paragraphs, but for a graduate school essay of 6,000 words, the body could take up 8–10 pages.
To give your essay a clear structure , it is important to organize it into paragraphs . Each paragraph should be centered around one main point or idea.
That idea is introduced in a topic sentence . The topic sentence should generally lead on from the previous paragraph and introduce the point to be made in this paragraph. Transition words can be used to create clear connections between sentences.
After the topic sentence, present evidence such as data, examples, or quotes from relevant sources. Be sure to interpret and explain the evidence, and show how it helps develop your overall argument.
Lack of access to reading and writing put blind people at a serious disadvantage in nineteenth-century society. Text was one of the primary methods through which people engaged with culture, communicated with others, and accessed information; without a well-developed reading system that did not rely on sight, blind people were excluded from social participation (Weygand, 2009). While disabled people in general suffered from discrimination, blindness was widely viewed as the worst disability, and it was commonly believed that blind people were incapable of pursuing a profession or improving themselves through culture (Weygand, 2009). This demonstrates the importance of reading and writing to social status at the time: without access to text, it was considered impossible to fully participate in society. Blind people were excluded from the sighted world, but also entirely dependent on sighted people for information and education.
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The conclusion is the final paragraph of an essay. It should generally take up no more than 10–15% of the text . A strong essay conclusion :
- Returns to your thesis
- Ties together your main points
- Shows why your argument matters
A great conclusion should finish with a memorable or impactful sentence that leaves the reader with a strong final impression.
What not to include in a conclusion
To make your essay’s conclusion as strong as possible, there are a few things you should avoid. The most common mistakes are:
- Including new arguments or evidence
- Undermining your arguments (e.g. “This is just one approach of many”)
- Using concluding phrases like “To sum up…” or “In conclusion…”
Braille paved the way for dramatic cultural changes in the way blind people were treated and the opportunities available to them. Louis Braille’s innovation was to reimagine existing reading systems from a blind perspective, and the success of this invention required sighted teachers to adapt to their students’ reality instead of the other way around. In this sense, Braille helped drive broader social changes in the status of blindness. New accessibility tools provide practical advantages to those who need them, but they can also change the perspectives and attitudes of those who do not.
Write your essay conclusion
My essay follows the requirements of the assignment (topic and length ).
My introduction sparks the reader’s interest and provides any necessary background information on the topic.
My introduction contains a thesis statement that states the focus and position of the essay.
I use paragraphs to structure the essay.
I use topic sentences to introduce each paragraph.
Each paragraph has a single focus and a clear connection to the thesis statement.
I make clear transitions between paragraphs and ideas.
My conclusion doesn’t just repeat my points, but draws connections between arguments.
I don’t introduce new arguments or evidence in the conclusion.
I have given an in-text citation for every quote or piece of information I got from another source.
I have included a reference page at the end of my essay, listing full details of all my sources.
My citations and references are correctly formatted according to the required citation style .
My essay has an interesting and informative title.
I have followed all formatting guidelines (e.g. font, page numbers, line spacing).
Your essay meets all the most important requirements. Our editors can give it a final check to help you submit with confidence.
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An essay is a focused piece of writing that explains, argues, describes, or narrates.
In high school, you may have to write many different types of essays to develop your writing skills.
Academic essays at college level are usually argumentative : you develop a clear thesis about your topic and make a case for your position using evidence, analysis and interpretation.
The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.
The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.
Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:
- An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
- Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
- A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.
The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .
A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.
The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:
- It gives your writing direction and focus.
- It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.
Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.
A topic sentence is a sentence that expresses the main point of a paragraph . Everything else in the paragraph should relate to the topic sentence.
At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).
Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.
The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .
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- How to Write a Definition Essay
A definition essay can be deceivingly difficult to write. This type of paper requires you to write a personal yet academic definition of one specific word. The definition must be thorough and lengthy. It is essential that you choose a word that will give you plenty to write about, and there are a few standard tactics you can use to elaborate on the term. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when writing a definition essay.
Part 1 of 3: Choosing the Right Word
1: choose an abstract word with a complex meaning. .
A simple word that refers to a concrete word will not give you much to write about, but a complex word that refers to an abstract concept provides more material to explore.
- Typically, nouns that refer to a person, place, or thing are too simple for a definition essay. Nouns that refer to an idea work better, however, as do most adjectives.
- For example, the word “house” is fairly simple and an essay written around it may be dull. By switching to something slightly more abstract like “home,” however, you can play around with the definition more. A “home” is a concept, and there are many elements involved in the creation of a “home.” In comparison, a “house” is merely a structure.
2: Make sure that the word is disputable.
Aside from being complex, the word should also refer to something that can mean different things to different people.
- A definition essay is somewhat subjective by nature since it requires you to analyze and define a word from your own perspective. If the answer you come up with after analyzing a word is the same answer anyone else would come up with, your essay may appear to lack depth.
3: Choose a word you have some familiarity with.
Dictionary definitions can only tell you so much. Since you need to elaborate on the word you choose to define, you will need to have your own base of knowledge or experience with the concept you choose.
- For instance, if you have never heard the term “pedantic,” your understanding of the word will be limited. You can introduce yourself to the word for your essay, but without previous understanding of the concept, you will not know if the definition you describe is truly fitting.
4: Read the dictionary definition.
While you will not be relying completely on the dictionary definition for your essay, familiarizing yourself with the official definition will allow you to compare your own understanding of the concept with the simplest, most academic explanation of it.
- As an example, one definition of “friend” is “a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.”  Your own ideas or beliefs about what a “friend” really is likely include much more information, but this basic definition can present you with a good starting point in forming your own.
5: Research the word’s origins.
Look up your chosen word in the Oxford English Dictionary or in another etymology dictionary. 
- These sources can tell you the history behind a word, which can provide further insight on a general definition as well as information about how a word came to mean what it means today.
Part 2 of 3: Potential Elements of an Effective Definition
1: write an analysis. .
Separate a word into various parts. Analyze and define each part in its own paragraph.
- You can separate “return” into “re-” and “turn.” The word “friendship” can be separated into “friend” and “ship.”
- In order to analyze each portion of a word, you will still need to use additional defining tactics like negation and classification.
- Note that this tactic only works for words that contain multiple parts. The word “love,” for instance, cannot be broken down any further. If defining “platonic love,” though, you could define both “platonic” and “love” separately within your essay.
2: Classify the term.
Specify what classes and parts of speech a word belongs to according to a standard dictionary definition.
- While this information is very basic and dry, it can provide helpful context about the way that a given word is used.
3: Compare an unfamiliar term to something familiar.
An unfamiliar or uncommon concept can be explained using concepts that are more accessible to the average person.
- Many people have never heard of the term “confrere,” for instance. One basic definition is “a fellow member of a profession, fraternity, etc.” As such, you could compare “confrere” with “colleague,” which is a similar yet more familiar concept. 
4: Provide traditional details about the term.
Explain any physical characteristics or traditional thoughts used to describe your term of choice.
- The term “home” is often visualized physically as a house or apartment. In more abstract terms, “home” is traditionally thought to be a warm, cozy, and safe environment. You can include all of these features in a definition essay on “home.”
5: Use examples to illustrate the meaning.
People often relate to stories and vivid images, so using a fitting story or image that relates to the term can be used in clarifying an abstract, formless concept.
- In a definition essay about “kindness,” for example, you could write about an act of kindness you recently witnessed. Someone who mows the lawn of an elderly neighbor is a valid example, just as someone who gave you an encouraging word when you were feeling down might be.
6: Use negation to explain what the term does not mean.
If a term is often misused or misunderstood, mentioning what it is not is an effective way to bring the concept into focus.
- A common example would be the term “courage.” The term is often associated with a lack of fear, but many will argue that “courage” is more accurately described as acting in spite of fear.
7: Provide background information.
This is when your research about the etymology of a word will come in handy. Explain where the term originated and how it came to mean what it currently means.
Part 3 of 3: Definition Essay Structure
1: introduce the standard definition..
You need to clearly state what your word is along with its traditional or dictionary definition in your introductory paragraph.
- By opening with the dictionary definition of your term, you create context and a basic level of knowledge about the word. This will allow you to introduce and elaborate on your own definition.
- This is especially significant when the traditional definition of your term varies from your own definition in notable ways.
2: Define the term in your own words in your thesis.
Your actual thesis statement should define the term in your own words.
- Keep the definition in your thesis brief and basic. You will elaborate on it more in the body of your paper.
- Avoid using passive phrases involving the word “is” when defining your term. The phrases “is where” and “is when” are especially clunky. 
- Do not repeat part of the defined term in your definition.
3: Separate different parts of the definition into separate paragraphs.
Each tactic or method used to define your term should be explored in a separate paragraph.
- Note that you do not need to use all the possible methods of defining a term in your essay. You should use a variety of different methods in order to create a full, well-rounded picture of the term, but some tactics will work great with some terms but not with others.
4: Conclude with a summary of your main points.
Briefly summarize your main points around the start of your concluding paragraph.
- This summary does not need to be elaborate. Usually, looking at the topic sentence of each body paragraph is a good way to form a simple list of your main points.
- You can also draw the essay to a close by referring to phrases or images evoked in your introduction.
5: Mention how the definition has affected you, if desired.
If the term you define plays a part in your own life and experiences, your final concluding remarks are a good place to briefly mention the role it plays.
- Relate your experience with the term to the definition you created for it in your thesis. Avoid sharing experiences that relate to the term but contradict everything you wrote in your essay.
Sources and Citations
- How to Write a Definition Essay. Provided by : WikiHow. Located at : http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Definition-Essay . License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
- Table of Contents
Instructor Resources (Access Requires Login)
- Overview of Instructor Resources
An Overview of the Writing Process
- Introduction to the Writing Process
- Introduction to Writing
- Your Role as a Learner
- What is an Essay?
- Reading to Write
- Defining the Writing Process
- Videos: Prewriting Techniques
- Thesis Statements
- Organizing an Essay
- Creating Paragraphs
- Editing and Proofreading
- Matters of Grammar, Mechanics, and Style
- Peer Review Checklist
- Comparative Chart of Writing Strategies
- Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Avoiding Plagiarism
- Formatting the Works Cited Page (MLA)
- Citing Paraphrases and Summaries (APA)
- APA Citation Style, 6th edition: General Style Guidelines
- Definitional Argument Essay
- Critical Thinking
- Video: Thesis Explained
- Effective Thesis Statements
- Student Sample: Definition Essay
- Introduction to Narrative Essay
- Student Sample: Narrative Essay
- "Shooting an Elephant" by George Orwell
- "Sixty-nine Cents" by Gary Shteyngart
- Video: The Danger of a Single Story
- How to Write an Annotation
- How to Write a Summary
- Writing for Success: Narration
- Introduction to Illustration/Example Essay
- "She's Your Basic L.O.L. in N.A.D" by Perri Klass
- "April & Paris" by David Sedaris
- Writing for Success: Illustration/Example
- Student Sample: Illustration/Example Essay
- Introduction to Compare/Contrast Essay
- "Disability" by Nancy Mairs
- "Friending, Ancient or Otherwise" by Alex Wright
- "A South African Storm" by Allison Howard
- Writing for Success: Compare/Contrast
- Student Sample: Compare/Contrast Essay
- Introduction to Cause-and-Effect Essay
- "Cultural Baggage" by Barbara Ehrenreich
- "Women in Science" by K.C. Cole
- Writing for Success: Cause and Effect
- Student Sample: Cause-and-Effect Essay
- Introduction to Argument Essay
- Rogerian Argument
- "The Case Against Torture," by Alisa Soloman
- "The Case for Torture" by Michael Levin
- How to Write a Summary by Paraphrasing Source Material
- Writing for Success: Argument
- Student Sample: Argument Essay
- Grammar/Mechanics Mini-lessons
- Mini-lesson: Subjects and Verbs, Irregular Verbs, Subject Verb Agreement
- Mini-lesson: Sentence Types
- Mini-lesson: Fragments I
- Mini-lesson: Run-ons and Comma Splices I
- Mini-lesson: Comma Usage
- Mini-lesson: Parallelism
- Mini-lesson: The Apostrophe
- Mini-lesson: Capital Letters
- Grammar Practice - Interactive Quizzes
- De Copia - Demonstration of the Variety of Language
- Style Exercise: Voice
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- Essay Writing
In the simplest terms, an essay is a short piece of writing which is set around a specific topic or subject. The piece of writing will give information surrounding the topic but will also display the opinions and thoughts of the author. Oftentimes, an essay is used in an academic sense by way of examination to determine whether a student has understood their studies and as a way of testing their knowledge on a specific subject. An essay is also used in education as a way of encouraging a student to develop their writing skills.
Moreover; an essay is a focused piece of writing designed to inform or persuade. There are many different types of essays, but they are often defined in four categories: argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive essays. Argumentative and expository essays are focused on conveying information and making clear points, while narrative and descriptive essays are about exercising creativity and writing in an interesting way. At the university level, argumentative essays are the most common type.
Types of Essay Writing
When it comes to writing an essay, there is not simply one type, there are, quite a few types of essay, and each of them has its purpose and function which are as follows:
A narrative essay details a story, oftentimes from a particular point of view. When writing a narrative essay, you should include a set of characters, a location, a good plot, and a climax to the story. It is vital that when writing this type of essay you use fine details which will allow the reader to feel the emotion and use their senses but also give the story the chance to make a point.
A descriptive essay will describe something in great detail. The subject can be anything from people and places to objects and events but the main point is to go into depth. You might describe the item’s color, where it came from, what it looks like, smells like, tastes like, or how it feels. It is very important to allow the reader to sense what you are writing about and allow them to feel some sort of emotion whilst reading. That being said, the information should be concise and easy to understand, the use of imagery is widely used in this style of essay.
An expository essay is used as a way to look into a problem and therefore compare it and explore it. For the expository essay, there is a little bit of storytelling involved but this type of essay goes beyond that. The main idea is that it should explain an idea giving information and explanation. Your expository essay should be simple and easy to understand as well as give a variety of viewpoints on the subject that is being discussed. Often this type of essay is used as a way to detail a subject which is usually more difficult for people to understand, clearly and concisely.
When writing an argumentative essay, you will be attempting to convince your reader about an opinion or point of view. The idea is to show the reader whether the topic is true or false along with giving your own opinion. You must use facts and data to back up any claims made within the essay.
Format of Essay Writing
Now there is no rigid format of an essay. It is a creative process so it should not be confined within boundaries. However, there is a basic structure that is generally followed while writing essays.
This is the first paragraph of your essay. This is where the writer introduces his topic for the very first time. You can give a very brief synopsis of your essay in the introductory paragraph. Generally, it is not very long, about 4-6 lines.
This is the main crux of your essays. The body is the meat of your essay sandwiched between the introduction and the conclusion. So the most vital content of the essay will be here. This need not be confined to one paragraph. It can extend to two or more paragraphs according to the content.
This is the last paragraph of the essay. Sometimes a conclusion will just mirror the introductory paragraph but make sure the words and syntax are different. A conclusion is also a great place, to sum up, a story or an argument. You can round up your essay by providing some morals or wrapping up a story. Make sure you complete your essays with the conclusion, leave no hanging threads.
Give your essays an interesting and appropriate title. It will help draw the attention of the reader and pique their curiosity
Keep it between 300-500 words. This is the ideal length, you can take creative license to increase or decrease it
Keep your language simple and crisp. Unnecessary complicated and difficult words break the flow of the sentence.
Do not make grammar mistakes, use correct punctuation and spelling five-paragraph. If this is not done it will distract the reader from the content
Before beginning the essay, organize your thoughts and plot a rough draft. This way you can ensure the story will flow and not be an unorganized mess.
Understand the Topic Thoroughly-Sometimes we jump to a conclusion just by reading the topic once and later we realize that the topic was different than what we wrote about. Read the topic as many times as it takes for you to align your opinion and understanding about the topic.
Make Pointers-It is a daunting task to write an essay inflow as sometimes we tend to lose our way of explaining and get off-topic, missing important details. Thinking about all points you want to discuss and then writing them down somewhere helps in covering everything you hoped to convey in your essay.
Develop a Plan and Do The Math-Essays have word limits and you have to plan your content in such a way that it is accurate, well-described, and meets the word limit given. Keep a track of your words while writing so that you always have an idea of how much to write more or less.
Essays are the most important means of learning the structure of writing and presenting them to the reader.
FAQs on Essay Writing
1. Writing an Essay in a format is important?
Yes, it is important because it makes your content more streamlined and understandable by the reader. A set format gives a reader a clear picture of what you are trying to explain. It also organises your own thoughts while composing an essay as we tend to think and write in a haphazard manner. The format gives a structure to the writeup.
2. How does Essay writing improve our English?
Essay writing is a very important part of your English earning curriculum, as you understand how to describe anything in your words or how to put your point of view without losing its meaning
3. How do you write a good essay?
Start by writing a thorough plan. Ensure your essay has a clear structure and overall argument. Try to back up each point you make with a quotation. Answer the question in your introduction and conclusion but remember to be creative too.
4. What is the format of writing an essay?
A basic essay consists of three main parts: introduction, body, and conclusion. This basic essay format will help you to write and organize an essay. However, flexibility is important. While keeping this basic essay format in mind, let the topic and specific assignment guide the writing and organization.
5. How many paragraphs does an essay have?
The basic format for an essay is known as the five paragraph essay – but an essay may have as many paragraphs as needed. A five-paragraph essay contains five paragraphs. However, the essay itself consists of three sections: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Below we'll explore the basics of writing an essay.
6. Can you use the word you in an essay?
In academic or college writing, most formal essays and research reports use third-person pronouns and do not use “I” or “you.” An essay is the writer's analysis of a topic. “You” has no place in an essay since the essay is the writer's thoughts and not the reader's thoughts.
7. What does bridge mean in an essay?
A bridge sentence is a special kind of topic sentence. In addition to signaling what the new paragraph is about, it shows how that follows from what the old paragraph said. The key to constructing good bridges is briefly pointing back to what you just finished saying.
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5 tips on how to write an impressive composition.
New year, new school, new opportunities for growth! Read our article as we share some tried and true tips for parents and children in the lead up to the first day of primary school.
A Whole New World Awaits
New classmates, new teachers, new school environment — your child’s tiny world is about to get a lot bigger. With these changes come opportunities for personal, social and cognitive growth.
The Countdown And Preparation Begins
In these weeks as you count down to your child’s first day of school, you may be wondering, “What will school be like for my child? Will my child be able to cope in the new environment?”
Parents can help by being proactive — research from professionals at Duke University suggests that establishing a strong communication channel with your child’s teachers helps and so does monitoring changes in your child's behaviour or mood when he or she first starts school.
Whether at home or in school, we’ve got some great tips for every stage of preparation that will help you (and your child) pave a smooth journey towards the new school term in January.
1. Create A Routine That Works
Studies have shown that routines help children feel safe and secure . Set up a routine that works for your child — whether it’s a shower before dinner or an afternoon snack before naptime, it’s important that your child gets into a routine that he or she is comfortable with.
2. Identify Friendly Figures In School
Helping your child identify teachers or staff he or she can go to for assistance is important. When your child recognises trustworthy figures of authority, he or she will feel more secure in the new environment.
Related Article: Gear Up For Primary 1
3. Prepare An 'Emergency' Fund
You may want to consider setting aside an “emergency fund” for your child. Placing extra money in a separate wallet or purse to be kept in his or her school bag means that your child will still have access to money if he or she misplaces pocket money. However, you should set some strict rules about when this money can be used.
4. Test Out That Transport Route
It may be a good idea to have a few dry runs of your child’s journey to and from school to help your child familiarise himself or herself with the route. Help your child identify key landmarks and remember the specific place where he or she will be dropped off or picked up from everyday.
Related Article: Raising A Responsible Child
5. Set Mini Goals To Achieve Together
Help to make the experience seem less daunting by setting mini goals for the first day of school. Start with small tasks like “Leave the house on time” or “Remember to bring my water bottle home” or “Meet one new friend in class today”. These mini goals give your child something to look forward to on his or her first day of school!
Download Our Special Guide To Surviving And Thriving In Primary 1
The Learning Lab would like to extend our help as you and your child are preparing for Primary 1 and the new adventures that lie ahead. Download our fun and informative guide filled with 25 great tips to help your child survive and thrive in Primary 1!
Writing is a creative medium for expressing thoughts and perspectives on diverse subjects. However, it can be difficult for your child to accurately convey his or her thoughts fluently in writing.
Writing essays and other literary compositions are an integral part of student life that extends to adult life. And although your child is far from the world of employment, it is worth noting that most jobs require writing skills at some capacity.
Here at The Learning Lab, we believe that effective written communication is a meaningful skill that helps our students become better at relaying information, conveying their thoughts and forming trusting relationships.
Nurture your child’s mastery of written English by introducing him or her to what we consider the five basic elements to writing an effective composition.
1. Determine the Central Idea of the Composition
An essay, as with most written compositions, has an introduction, a body and a conclusion.
The central idea connects these three parts to create one theme. It gives the composition direction and purpose, making it enjoyable and easy to read.
To bring out the central idea throughout the written composition, it is important to first identify the key words from the question. If the title or headline for the composition is provided, the key words would likely be supplied as well.
For example, if your child is tasked to write about “The Person I Admire the Most”, the key words are “person” and “admire”. In this case, the central idea would not only be about the person, but also about the qualities that make that person admirable and why.
2. Check That the Composition Has a Smooth and Cohesive Flow
Another element that makes a written piece effective is effortless flow. This involves weaving words, phrases, sentences and paragraphs together, in a logical manner, to support the central idea.
To achieve coherency, we recommend drafting an outline — an organised set of questions that will give your child clarity and direction in crafting the composition.
Using the same topic, “The Person I Admire the Most”, the outline may look like this:
- Who is the person I admire the most?
- What makes this person distinctive?
- What are the qualities I admire about this person?
- Why do I admire these specific qualities about this person?
- How does this person inspire me to become a better version of myself?
The outline helps both the writer and the reader understand the point of the composition in a smooth and logical manner.
3. Support Statements with Evidence
A composition supported by evidence in the form of interviews, dialogues, speeches, testimonials, personal accounts or citations from reliable sources suggests credibility and is more persuasive to the reader.
At the primary school level, students can provide anecdotal evidence — evidence collected in a casual or informal manner. They can rely on personal testimonies to provide real-life accounts and experiences to back up their ideas.
In secondary school, students are presented with several different topics or questions and may pick the one they wish to write about. These range from writing fictional stories to providing their thoughts on real-world topics like the impact of global warming.
As such, students in secondary school are encouraged to read up on worldly events so they remain updated on current issues and can incorporate quotes or facts into their composition where needed.
4. Evoke Emotion and Sustain Readers’ Attention
People read not only to be informed but also to be entertained, and perhaps to gain a new perspective about a subject or even to find inspiration.
A well-written composition captures and sustains a reader’s attention. Your child can achieve this by using descriptive words or phrases to bring out specific emotions in readers. Figures of speech are also helpful in injecting creativity in his or her written compositions.
Using metaphors and similes, for example, helps the reader understand a subject by comparing it to something else. If your child is describing a dull performance, he or she can write something along the lines of, “watching the show was like watching paint dry.''
Artful narratives help the reader relate to your child’s story more as compared to writing a matter-of-factly composition.
5. Work Towards a Distinctive Style
While the elements above are all very important in crafting an engaging and compelling composition, “style” is the one factor that can make a student’s composition stand out from the rest.
We don’t mean personality. What we mean by style is the manner in which a student consistently and distinctly writes. It’s the artistic flair with which ideas are put together in words.
Mark Twain, for instance, is best known for his humour and sharp social satire. Jane Austen’s writing is filled with irony and often features female protagonists, while JK Rowling’s prose is easily recognisable through her vivid imagination and invention of strange words.
At The Learning Lab, our teachers look at facts as well as opinions. We want to be able to assess, through students’ writing, how clear and creative these ideas are processed and presented.
Lastly, it’s worth reminding your son or your daughter that there are no set rules in writing. This is what makes the English language attractive and interesting — its contextual flexibility, socio-cultural variations and playfulness.
“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” ― Sylvia Plath
Bring Out the Wordsmith in Your Child
The foundation of effective communication is literacy; the ability to read and write. But at TLL, we want our students to go beyond learning how to simply read and write.
In our English programmes, a lot of emphasis is placed on allowing our students to exercise their powers of putting the English language on paper; gaining confidence, picking up the tricks of the trade and tackling common problems along the way.
Through our simple yet effective 6-step structured approach to writing, we introduce students to good writing, teach them specific writing techniques and help them understand the importance of characterisation, tone and imagery.
From generating ideas and structuring the flow of the story for a story curve to detailing the characters’ successes or failures in the climax, click here to find out more about TLL's structured 6-step writing approach.
Nursery 2 – kindergarten 2.
In addition to building a foundation for word recognition, vocabulary and sentence structure when it comes to writing, our early years programmes also inculcate fundamental skills in reading and speaking.
Primary 1 – Primary 6
At the primary levels, we help develop our students' ability to analyse questions, craft precise answers and produce writing of greater quality, sophistication and length to excel in all examinable components of the English subject.
Secondary & Junior College
Secondary 1 – junior college 2.
Our secondary to junior college programmes help students further develop their writing, speaking, comprehension and listening skills, enhancing their overall language appreciation and mastery.