Writing an essay often seems to be a dreaded task among students. Whether the essay is for a scholarship, a class, or maybe even a contest, many students often find the task overwhelming. While an essay is a large project, there are many steps a student can take that will help break down the task into manageable parts. Following this process is the easiest way to draft a successful essay, whatever its purpose might be.
According to Kathy Livingston’s Guide to Writing a Basic Essay, there are seven steps to writing a successful essay:
1. Pick a topic.
You may have your topic assigned, or you may be given free reign to write on the subject of your choice. If you are given the topic, you should think about the type of paper that you want to produce. Should it be a general overview of the subject or a specific analysis? Narrow your focus if necessary.
If you have not been assigned a topic, you have a little more work to do. However, this opportunity also gives you the advantage to choose a subject that is interesting or relevant to you. First, define your purpose. Is your essay to inform or persuade?
Once you have determined the purpose, you will need to do some research on topics that you find intriguing. Think about your life. What is it that interests you? Jot these subjects down.
Finally, evaluate your options. If your goal is to educate, choose a subject that you have already studied. If your goal is to persuade, choose a subject that you are passionate about. Whatever the mission of the essay, make sure that you are interested in your topic.
2. Prepare an outline or diagram of your ideas.
In order to write a successful essay, you must organize your thoughts. By taking what’s already in your head and putting it to paper, you are able to see connections and links between ideas more clearly. This structure serves as a foundation for your paper. Use either an outline or a diagram to jot down your ideas and organize them.
To create a diagram, write your topic in the middle of your page. Draw three to five lines branching off from this topic and write down your main ideas at the ends of these lines. Draw more lines off these main ideas and include any thoughts you may have on these ideas.
If you prefer to create an outline, write your topic at the top of the page. From there, begin to list your main ideas, leaving space under each one. In this space, make sure to list other smaller ideas that relate to each main idea. Doing this will allow you to see connections and will help you to write a more organized essay.
3. Write your thesis statement.
Now that you have chosen a topic and sorted your ideas into relevant categories, you must create a thesis statement. Your thesis statement tells the reader the point of your essay. Look at your outline or diagram. What are the main ideas?
Your thesis statement will have two parts. The first part states the topic, and the second part states the point of the essay. For instance, if you were writing about Bill Clinton and his impact on the United States, an appropriate thesis statement would be, “Bill Clinton has impacted the future of our country through his two consecutive terms as United States President.”
Another example of a thesis statement is this one for the “Winning Characteristics” Scholarship essay: “During my high school career, I have exhibited several of the “Winning Characteristics,” including Communication Skills, Leadership Skills and Organization Skills, through my involvement in Student Government, National Honor Society, and a part-time job at Macy’s Department Store.”
4. Write the body.
The body of your essay argues, explains or describes your topic. Each main idea that you wrote in your diagram or outline will become a separate section within the body of your essay.
Each body paragraph will have the same basic structure. Begin by writing one of your main ideas as the introductory sentence. Next, write each of your supporting ideas in sentence format, but leave three or four lines in between each point to come back and give detailed examples to back up your position. Fill in these spaces with relative information that will help link smaller ideas together.
5. Write the introduction.
Now that you have developed your thesis and the overall body of your essay, you must write an introduction. The introduction should attract the reader’s attention and show the focus of your essay.
Begin with an attention grabber. You can use shocking information, dialogue, a story, a quote, or a simple summary of your topic. Whichever angle you choose, make sure that it ties in with your thesis statement, which will be included as the last sentence of your introduction.
6. Write the conclusion.
The conclusion brings closure of the topic and sums up your overall ideas while providing a final perspective on your topic. Your conclusion should consist of three to five strong sentences. Simply review your main points and provide reinforcement of your thesis.
7. Add the finishing touches.
After writing your conclusion, you might think that you have completed your essay. Wrong. Before you consider this a finished work, you must pay attention to all the small details.
Check the order of your paragraphs. Your strongest points should be the first and last paragraphs within the body, with the others falling in the middle. Also, make sure that your paragraph order makes sense. If your essay is describing a process, such as how to make a great chocolate cake, make sure that your paragraphs fall in the correct order.
Review the instructions for your essay, if applicable. Many teachers and scholarship forms follow different formats, and you must double check instructions to ensure that your essay is in the desired format.
Finally, review what you have written. Reread your paper and check to see if it makes sense. Make sure that sentence flow is smooth and add phrases to help connect thoughts or ideas. Check your essay for grammar and spelling mistakes.
Congratulations! You have just written a great essay.
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When you sit down to teach your children essay writing you might not initially know where to begin. Essay writing is the cornerstone of any education and half or more of the subjects your kids are likely to tackle in their school lifetime will require essay writing skills.
Writing tips for kids are something that will take them from being a mediocre student to one that shines. Confidence when writing is something that can truly be learned – very few people are born with this important skill. That’s good news, in fact. Like anything worthwhile doing, all great writing takes is practice and dedication.
How to inspire your kids to love writing
It’s true: Your kids may not be thrilled when they are first faced with an essay writing task, but writing skills are very important for their future educational and emotional development. The most important thing to keep in mind is that children might initially have difficulties in expressing themselves. That’s OK!
Teaching your children essay writing might seem like it requires a lot of effort on your behalf – but it needn’t! Here’s a basic, step by step guide to get you on your way to helping out your children with their essay writing skills. This easy list will equip you with all the things you need to do to help your children improve their grades at school and contribute to their future. It’s so important to teach your children essay writing. Here’s how.
Teach Your Children Essay Writing in 5 Steps
Step 1: Start with basics
Lots of kids aren’t great with grammar. Grammar takes time to learn and many parents and guardians simply don’t correct their young children enough, which is doing them a disservice. Some parents might even find these little mistakes cute, funny or charming – but that’s where very young children get into trouble later in life.
Some common grammatical errors made by children are listed by writer Amanda Morin here. Phrases like, ““I goedto the store with Daddy so we could buy traps to catch the mouses,” or, “I’d rather have cookies then cake.”
You need to correct your children and equip them with the basics of spelling and grammar. You don’t have to deliver a massive lecture on writing concepts or run the whole grammar gauntlet in one day. Do this step by step, correct them gently when they make a mistake and select grammar and spelling practices which are appropriate for their grade, age, and essay requirements.
Step 2: Create an outline
When spending time with young children we can see them struggling to find the correct words when speaking; this is even more apparent when they’re tasked with writing. The vast majority of children are not initially confident when expressing their thoughts on paper, so it’s an important step to teach your children essay writing in a sensible way.
To help your children with essay writing, teach them how to create a structure of the message or story they want to tell. When they perfect this, creating an outline for an essay becomes easier. Once your kids understand “logical context”, their mission is half accomplished. Impart the importance of structure: an introduction, body of the essay (including arguments and structured thoughts), and a well-thought out conclusion. Have them practise with something fun, such as an age appropriate story or fairytale.
Step 3: Provide examples and practise a lot
Give your kids examples! Children work better when they have some examples of what they are trying to do lying in front of them. This tactic, called “learning by example”, will help your children get more ideas about creating their own essay papers.
Work on these together and add some creativity to the task. If your kids are young, find fun examples of coordinated text and ask them to point out what structure a piece of writing has – for example, where the beginning, middle and end is. Make sure you don’t overload your kids with tasks either; do the work in small bursts and keep them engaged. Reward them with something fun, such as stickers or colourful pens, or even a new book or two.
Step 4: Don’t push your kids too much
Essay writing is a very hard and complex task; even most adults find it challenging! Don’t put too much pressure on children when they ask for assistance. Check out online services such as Spider Essay Help for advice and take it easy. Striving for perfection is never the best way to get your children immersed in a writing task.
Give them plenty of breaks and lots of encouragement. When they make an error, make sure you are gentle with them so you don’t affect their confidence levels. Setting them up for success in this way will give them more confidence at school. Praise them when they do well and offer positive reinforcement.
Step 5: Read to your children and encourage them to read on their own
It should go without saying but all great writers started as readers. Make reading fun! When kids are little (even from when they are babies) read to them: fairy tales, interesting stories and books designed for kids.
Find out what subjects your kids love; they might surprise you! Do they love dinosaurs, science, bugs, or stories about witches and wizards? Choose age appropriate books that they will find a genuine interest in.
When you are reading to your children, you’ll notice that they’ll definitely catch some words out of the text, and even remember them almost perfectly. This increases their word capacity and vocabulary. Educate your children to love reading on their own. Give them a couple of different books of one or two genres, and ask their opinions.
Easy essay tips for kids
It’s important to remember that writing can be as difficult a subject to teach and assess as it is to learn. You, as a parent, need a lot of patience while teaching your children. Remember to enjoy your time together and build a stronger rapport with your kids. This is where parent involvement can make a big difference to their learning outcomes.
When you teach your children essay writing you are giving them a lifelong skill. Encouraging your children to develop strong writing skills at a young age is a very worthwhile activity and may make all the difference to their future school success. Essay writing skills can have a lifelong positive impact on a child’s writing and may make essay writing an easier and more enjoyable process throughout their lives.
How to Teach Your Children Essay Writing | Easy Essay Tips for Kids
Writing an essay is the cornerstone of any child’s education. Here’s how to teach your children essay writing in 5 simple, easy to follow tips.
Alyce Vayle | Content Strategist