English composition as an examinable component begins in primary 3.
Starting a primary school English composition with the right tone and frame can either create interest or slay it. As the first impression counts, a composition that stands out right from the beginning can undoubtedly impress.
A simple guide to checking an introduction is by asking if it is attention-grabbing enough to make the reader want to read on. Every introduction is an opportunity to capture the reader’s attention and to score.
Most students typically start their stories with the proverbial, “One sunny day” or with a memorised phrase that describes the weather, such as “Fluffy white clouds drifted past the azure blue sky”.
Your child may resort to these opening lines to start writing a composition conveniently – or perhaps he/she is not aware that there are multiple ways to begin a story. Your child may possibly memorise fanciful phrases describing the weather at the start, only to realise that weather has nothing to do with the story as he/she writes on.
Sometimes your child is taught a particular method of English composition at P3, and it becomes so ingrained in him/her that he/she becomes afraid to try something new or different. Primary school English composition writing should be original with an engaging hook at the start to develop the story.
Here’s a list of creative ideas on how your child can start his/her English composition.
Creative ways to start a primary school English composition
1. Start with a description
Use descriptions to build a strong atmosphere for your story. An excellent control of vocabulary is needed to write an engaging description. Advise your child to avoid memorising chunks of descriptive phrases that he/she sees in composition books. Instead, challenge your child to create his/her own descriptive phrases to suit different situations.
2. Open with questions
Asking questions is a good method to grab the reader’s attention. The reader will read on to find the answer.
If your child is clear about what is going to happen in the story, the questions can help readers to anticipate the next action or event in the story. Do take note to not fill a story with too many questions.
3. Introduce a character
Introducing something about the main character is a good way to help the reader anticipate the next action or event in the story. Choose something that explains what will happen in the story and focus on describing the character’s inward and outward traits in a captivating manner.
4. Bring in dialogues
Using dialogues for supporting English composition help to introduce the character’s thoughts and voice from the beginning of the story. It is a good way to add life to a character and make a composition more interesting by engaging the reader at the start.
Dialogues should be based on one of the key themes or ideas of the story, not something unimportant or irrelevant. Do not fall into the habit of filling the story with masses of dialogues. Always keep in mind that the narrator is the main storyteller.
5. Build up the suspense
The reader likes to guess what is going on. Beginning with a mystery, something unusual or promise of something going wrong is a good chance of engaging the reader.
6. Highlight the action
Engage the reader immediately with impactful action instead of beating about the bush. It creates a suspenseful atmosphere where the reader will be captivated right into the action of the story.
Being a proficient composition writer is about finding the opening style your child is most comfortable with. There is no one size fits all opening style. Use the varying ideas to practise writing interestingly and engagingly, it will get easier in your child’s exam.
Practice makes perfect. A good start to a primary school English composition usually determines how well the story develops, sets the emotions and gets your imagination focused. The ability to write is not a skill extended to only a few, but to those who are willing to work hard at it.
Enhance your child’s composition writing with MindChamps Enrichment Academy
To give your child a head start in English composition writing, supplementing study sessions with enrichment programmes could help to provide the learning support needed. MindChamps Enrichment Academy offers programmes that are specially designed to help your child excel in this examinable composition component.
Improve your child’s composition writing with our MindChamps Writing programme which introduces your child to the different genres of writing, helping him/her master the art of writing for both creative expression and academic excellence.
If you are looking to dive deeper into the techniques of composition writing while covering other aspects of the MOE English curriculum, our Primary Success Programme is conducted on a termly basis and covers English, Maths, Science and Chinese for students from Primary 3 to Primary 5. Our Primary Success Programme for English consists of holistic topics on grammar, vocabulary, writing, reading and reviewing, speaking and articulation, and is accompanied by termly tests, exams and reviews to track your child’s learning progress.
Find out more about our enrichment programmes and how your child can benefit from them!
Written by Karen Chen