The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition is back!
Winners and runners-up will travel to London for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. They will enjoy a week of educational and cultural events, and attend a special awards ceremony. Interested to enrol your child in this prestigious national writing competition? Here are five tips to get you started!
1. Brainstorm and unlock ideas
Young writers are expected to explore solutions that address global challenges in this year's theme, "Towards a Common Future", which includes sub-themes such as sustainability, safety, prosperity, and fairness. One helpful technique for distilling such complex subject matters is to brainstorm the topic with your children and ask them focused questions. For example, if the topic is 'prosperity', you can ask questions like, “What does it mean to be prosperous today? Is wealth only associated with money?” Asking relevant questions helps your children find a strong angle for their story. Make this a fun activity and chat about the ideas they develop.
To take the pressure off, you can let your children share their thoughts while you jot them down. Brainstorming also enables you to identify which topics will sustain their interest throughout the writing process.
2. Know your audience
Entries for the competition are assessed by judges from around the world. Stories that focus on universal truths would captivate a global audience. They are usually inspirational, insightful, or moving. The best ideas are conceived from personal experience. Get your children to reflect on their life experiences. A story that provides exposition on the human condition will allow the judges to feel more connected to the writing.
3. Writing is rewriting
This age-old saying holds true, even for many distinguished authors such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gabriel García Márquez, and Roald Dahl. Many students find it challenging to write their first draft because they try to get everything right the first time. Sometimes the pressure of perfection is so enormous that they end up losing interest. The pressure doubles when they are entering a contest. Have them get ideas down on paper before working with them to perfect their writing. You can empower them to experiment with language too! Give them space to revisit their work so that they can gain a fresh perspective.
4. Play the role of 'editor'
Work on clarity and a smooth movement between sentences before you dive into basic grammar and spelling mistakes. Apart from accuracy, it is crucial that you take on a critical perspective when examining your children’s masterpiece. Reading the draft aloud is one way you can help your children refine the structure and development of their narrative.
5. Encourage discovery and self-expression
Like anything worthwhile, writing is hard work. Creating a positive atmosphere and setting children at ease about sharing their misgivings, may help them discover new ideas. Allow them to express themselves and make mistakes along the way.
Learn more about The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition at http://bit.ly/2nj2mg8
Quick English Examination Tips
1. Revise questions from past practice papers
• Get your child to keep a record of previous mistakes made.
2. Short, regular exercises
• Have your child mark out the clues for each question.
• Identify the sections that he/she requires more practice on.
3. Time management
• Encourage your child to work within a specified duration / time limit.
• Allow them to mark out questions they are unsure of (they can seek clarification later).
• Ensure they allocate time for checking.
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