How often have we heard the familiar call: “Mummy, Daddy, please help me” But it takes an added twist when the call is for help in writing an essay. Certainly it would not be good for the child if parents actually write the essay for them. What is required, like so many other things, is for parents to show them how it is to be done. Help the child learn the process involved in writing the essay. In helping them to understand the process, it would be helpful if they move away from the conventional to something more progressive and interesting. For example, they could use the mind mapping or thinking tree concept.
The Important Parts Of The Process
- Understanding the requirements. What is the length of the essay? Usually a child’s essay assignment would consist of four to five paragraphs. It would generally be made up of an introductory paragraph, two to three paragraphs for the body and a paragraph for the conclusion. Assignments that come with instructions would be far easier to manage. However, this would depend on the level they are at and the approach adopted by the teacher. Where the instructions are not specific, it is best to clarify actual requirements.
- Using the thinking tree illustration, the stem can be used for the topic of the essay. The sub-topics or paragraphs would be the branches with the leaves making up the sentences or details of each paragraph. Depending on complexity, sub-branches can be used for sub-paragraphs. This would be a practical and interesting way to show the child the process.
- Understand the topic. Is it a one word topic or a phrase? The topic will determine the central or main theme of the essay. At times, it may be necessary to narrow down a broad topic to something more specific.
- Once the topic is well defined, the other components of the essay can be easily developed. An example would be: Children Earning Extra Pocket Money. Is it good? Why? What is good about it? Perhaps three main points can be identified. It could be: Learning about the value of money, how to manage it and allocation of sufficient time to generate the targeted amount. These would be the sub-topics. To develop the details or sentences for the sub-topics, asking and answering the what and why questions would be helpful.
Overview Of The Role Of Parents
Help the child get the “big picture” on the essay and then think out the linkages. Review the draft prepared by your child. Help with editing spelling and grammar. Encourage them to use a dictionary. The more your child understands the process, the less would they be dependent on your help in completing their subsequent essay writing assignments.