Since I have a wide assortment of school age children, there is always one of them that needs writing help. Right now, it happens to be my Middle School aged kiddos. They are of an age that the essay should be second nature to them. In fact, this past year we spent a considerable amount of time learning a few basic pointers to nail down the art of writing essays. Here are my five favorite steps…
1) Brainstorm – depending on the breadth of the essay this may include research. However, if your essay assignment is rather extemporaneous you will not have time to do research and thus must pull from your pre acquired knowledge. Encourage the student to think about the topic. To remember any books/ classic movies they have read that support an argument for or against the topic. Take these examples and formulate them into an opinion or idea.
2) Thesis and outline- Write your thesis which is usually a sentence that summarizes the main point of your essay. The thesis will often contain your title, and the title is what will induce your readers to spend time on your essay. Once you have a thesis written down – start a rough outline. The outline should include your introduction, main ideas (points), and conclusion.
3) Start your paper with an introduction that contains your thesis and main ideas. Make sure that it consists of at least three sentences and that it catches the reader’s attention. Move on to the body of the paper. Each main idea will have a corresponding body paragraph. Make sure that you start each paragraph with a topic sentence that restates the main idea. Finally, construct a concluding paragraph. In this paragraph you should restate your main ideas and your thesis and summarize your position.
4) Don’t forget to follow whichever style of writing your teacher/parent instructed. There are many different formats including MLA, APA, and Turabian.
5) Last but not least, make sure that you polish your work before turning it in. Read and reread your essay checking for spelling, syntax, and grammatical errors.
If you are still struggling with getting your kiddos to write cohesive essays why don’t you try online tutoring in writing?