In this article we discuss simple tricks to create an engaging and more complex narrative that will give your child the edge.
This will not be a long drawn out explanation into the multiple lengthy criterion for the upcoming NAPLAN. Think of this as the equivalent of a ‘short introduction’ with the writing test. An introduction in which we get the important initial impression and absorb the major do’s and don’ts the test demands.
Handshakes a’ready. Let’s begin.
The writing task can be a narrative or a persuasive text. The prompts for this will be quite broad but easy to access. ‘Everyone should learn to cook’. Agree or disagree? There is 40 minutes to complete the test.
Ok that’s the initial impression out of the way. Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty. The do’s and don’ts.
Imagination, a big part of writing an engaging story is one’s imagination. Most students or adults can remember the dread of a question, a blank piece of paper and not a single idea present in your panicking brain. However, where younger students around the year 5 age fall short is this imagination takes over and we have a character who has visited the ocean, outer space and a wizards secret cave all within one paragraph. More realism is certainly expected as the years progress. A realism scale to check your idea with is a great measure for the student to learn before getting too far lost in distant worlds.
For the younger years the examiner is seeking to see conventions. Can they describe a setting, use dialogue well and create a vaguely interesting complication. As the years go on, mastery and subversion of these conventions differentiate the successful student. Reading is the best way for a child to filter these conventions into their subconscious. And then ultimately their writing.
Action. (Boys beware!). A story needs some action, but a never ending stream of events does not create engaging stories. Having a limit for the amount of events in writing is key to success for the younger years.
Persuasion. Use of statistics. ‘The university of Australia think healthy eating is a good idea.’ Of course they do. Using incredibly wild and unconsidered statistics is an easy way to miss out on easy marks. Teaching how to write a proper ‘fake’ statistic is an easy tool for students to be successful.
Timing. Training to the clock is a difficult challenge, the younger years especially. No less important however.
Let’s now look at some handy tips and tricks, for your child making the best first impression with the examiner.
Cyclical narrative. Opening and ending a narrative in the same place or manner gives the end a solid and complete resolution.
Pathetic Fallacy (Weather). Should be used as an easy setting builder to create moods.
Flashforward. Taught at Discover Learning, the student writes the same story but changes the structure. Therefore creates layers in a narrative all by using the fateful lines ‘1 hour earlier’.
DR A FOREST. Again a classic acronym for persuasive writing techniques that students’ should be familiar with above years 5.
All these techniques, tips and structures will be taught in our writing workshops to give your child an edge and extra confidence moving into what can be very challenging examinations.