Top 5 tips to improve your Chinese composition
These tips that I’m about to share will work for both lower primary (Primary 3 and 4) and upper primary kids (Primary 5 and 6 PSLE).
Tip #1: Learn the basic building blocks of a Chinese composition
No matter what Chinese composition topic you write, every Chinese composition is always make up of the same 3 building blocks – the introduction, the body and the ending.
And that’s good news, right? Because this means that instead of having to work on improving the whole composition, you can improve your Chinese composition step by step. For example, you can learn how to write a good composition introduction first. That would give your Chinese compo an overall boost.
After mastering that, you can learn how to write complete endings to give your compo an overall nice close. Once you are done with these simpler parts, you can then focus on how to develop the main content or body of your composition.
It’s easier to learn Chinese compo when you do things one thing at a time.
Tip #2: Planning what to write before you actually start
Most kids in primary school tend to be a bit more on the impatient side when it comes to composition writing (or maybe they are just more spontaneous!) Going with the flow is ok IF you are a fairly systematic person. As you look at the compo pictures, you think and write. Nothing wrong. However, not all kids are born with this superpower. ^^”
That’s why it pays to plan your Chinese composition.
Planning helps you think ahead what content to write, what words to use and lets your organize your thoughts before you put your pen to work. Without it, you might end up missing some details which may affect your entire storyline. In fact, it might also make your Chinese zuo wen (composition) sound incoherent and disorganized.
You don’t want that.
Tip #3: Focus on writing your story and not the number of words
During Chinese composition writing class, my class kids usually have the habit of raising their hands to ask me how to write certain Chinese words.
No problem with that.
However, there was once I got the question “zhu lao shi, psle chinese composition must write how many words?”
And then I realised that some kids write their compo to hit the number of words required! And then I’ve had some kids who were even more adorable.
“If the word count is 100, does that mean I can stop at 100 words for my compo?”
Instead of focusing on reaching the word count required, your Chinese compo will sound much natural if you just concentrate on writing the story. If you write a good starting, a developed body and a satisfying ending for your compo, you’ll definitely meet the word count anyway,
Tip #4: Simplicity is key
A good Chinese composition is one that has a good plot and it can be easily understood by the readers.
Learn how to write well in a simple and effective way. Contrary to what most parents believe, a good piece of writing does not mean that it has to be filled with bombastic good phrases and idioms. When kids write complex sentences without true mastery of the language, the sentences may actually sound clumsy and affect your entire composition negatively.
Heard of the phrase “less is more”?
From my experience marking compos at PSLE, I’ve seen really simple compositions getting close to full marks – Simple and expressive is what you want to aim for. With no spelling errors and good grammar, your Chinese compo will be good for any paper 1 test or exam.
Tip #5: Practice the art of observation daily
We talked about being expressive earlier on, right?
When it comes writing expressively, the devil is in the details. For example, 2 kids can look at the same picture can see different things.
The kid that looks at the picture with a superficial interpretation may write something like “小明和朋友在足球场上玩。“
The other one who interprets the picture on a deeper level may come up with something “放学后，小明和一群好朋友在去球场上玩。他们一边跑，一边把球踢来踢去，玩得不亦乐乎。”
Who is a better writer?
The one who pays more attention to the details.
So learn how to be a little more observant in your daily life. A good practice is to look for scenarios around you and think about how you can describe them more vividly. This takes time, but it’s going to be a good life skill to have.
Which of these tips will you try out in your next Chinese composition?
Let me know in the comments below and I look forward to hearing if it helped you improve your Chinese composition. ;p