Want to help your primary school kids write a compelling piece of Chinese compositionIt’s such a common misconception that students weak in Chinese skills have to be rigid in their writing. 

Inevitably, there are certain rules for writing that pupils need to stick to, such as the following grammar to form grammatically correct sentences

However, when too many rule-keeping writing happens, it gets stale and… boring. 

It’s understandable that students with weaker Chinese language skills feel the fear of making mistakes in their writing, whether it’s featuring phrases and idioms, or putting a twist to the story, that’s why they cling on to a certain template when writing. Better to be safe than sorry, right? 

But, that can change. We share the following writing tricks and techniques to load the power of your child’s composition, but note that they shouldn’t be prescriptive. 

How to write a logically structured Chinese composition

Good content needs a good structure to stand out. No one can tell students the exact details on how to put together a piece of writing, but once they get to grips with how they’re meant to construct them, it’s simple. 

The objective of writing any composition is to show that the student can think critically about the topic or theme at hand. 

Think of structure as the skeleton of a piece of writing. It’s the bone that is connected to form a strong bedrock upon where the writer builds something imaginable and distinctive. Read on to find out what it means to construct a successful structure for writing. 

1. Coherence from beginning to ending

Key takeaway: Writing has to make complete sense from 开头 to 结尾.

Here’s how to test it: Remove everything in between 开头 and 结尾 to check if they’re in harmony. 

Every part of the writing, especially the beginning and the ending, should be like a family: Tied by unbreakable bonds. Loop back and forth or blend scenes from beginning to end to tie the entire writing together.

Example:

开头:

春光明媚,踏行晚归,徘徊于小园香径。幽长幽长的小径,开满了昔日的花儿,鲜艳美好,似浅浅的海波荡涤着幽幽的香。

结尾:

春夏秋冬,每一个季节都是一道美丽的风景,而且都在我心中长留。

Through the writing, the reader has to see that the thoughts of the writer are unfolded poetically yet clearly enough to lead the reader from one notion to the next until its conclusion. Your kid’s challenge is to convince the reader that whatever that’s written is real. Having too many descriptive or narrative breaks the truthfulness, so form a structure with less fluffiness to achieve that goal.

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2. Firm conclusion at the ending (卒章显志)

Key takeaway: There should be a solid opinion at the ending of the writing to represent what the entire composition is about.

Here’s how to test it: Isolate the ending part and read it to check if it’s understandable, even without the support of the rest of the essay.

As mentioned earlier, writing a composition is to test the student’s critical and logical thinking skills. 

The conclusion of the Chinese composition should be:

  1. A related thought that grows out of the body
  2. Reveals the student’s profound understanding of the topic
  3. Indicate that they’re capable of having a voice of their own 

Format of the conclusion need not be complicated. It can be almost a restatement of the opening paragraph. A great example would be from Chinese writer, 鲁迅:

[故乡] 鲁迅

我想:希望是本无所谓有,无所谓无的。这正如地上的路:其实地上本没有路,走的人多了,也便成了路。

Great techniques to write stronger, better characters

While the plot is important, good characters can make or break writingCreating believable characters that are real, tangible, and complex is certainly easier said than done. And it’s also imperative, but not as perplexing as it seems. What’s an easy way out? Taking inspiration from people around! 

Parents, grandparents, classmates… What’s easier than writing about characters they already know? Once they have an image of the characters that they can build on, they can then move on to work on the description. 

1. Develop characters’ relationships 

There are countless ways to craft a strong character. So why relationships? 

Character description can be somewhat useful, it tends to get redundant when not controlled well. Plus, it won’t be deep and distinctive. Instead, talk about how important they are to other characters in the story. 

A strong character is a product of relationships and his or her environment. Always link relationships back to showcase the importance of the main character. A simple example would be that people will be quite upset if the protagonist is injured.

A good daily practice: let your kid spend time thinking about fictional characters and creating relationships among them. 

2. Write about their mental activities

Show, don’t tell”: any writer can tell you the significance of this simple phrase. Write about a person’s deepest thoughts, bad habits, accidental deeds, dialogues, or even their eyes, smile or tears; it tells a lot about the character as if the account is not of ink-and-paper creatures but of flesh-and-blood people. 

Also, don’t be afraid to give characters some flaws. Flaws give the characters a chance to do something out of the norm, which may, in turn, surprises the reader. Remember: readers love a story that has life. 

There we have it: adding a natural flow to a Chinese composition using a logical structure and strong characters! 

But we’re not quite done yet. Hold on tight as we continue the topic next month on how to write situational compositions and scenic descriptions

Need professional help on teaching primary school Chinese composition to your kids? Our online live lessons are interesting and interactive where students can have fun while learning how to write. Hurry and sign up for a free trial lesson now! 

composition mistakes

Bonus: 

For PSLE Chinese composition, there’ll be two options — 命题作文 and 看图作文 ⁠— for students to choose the one that they’d like to work on.

Planning before writing is crucial: here are some basic steps that students can follow before they start writing. 

命题作文:

  1. Choose great idioms, phrases and vocab that you think will fit the theme
  2. Make sentences
  3. Glue everything together

看图作文:

  1. Look at the photos
  2. Choose great idioms, phrases and vocab that you think will fit the theme
  3. Make sentences
  4. Glue everything together


Also, we’ve included the past PSLE Chinese composition topics from the year 2000 to 2017 for your reference. 

Adding Natural Flow To Primary School Chinese Composition Part 1: Structure and Characters