Content Mastery + Checking = Success!
In terms of exam preparedness, in addition to content mastery, I personally believe that it is important for students to know how to self-check their work.
Often, when you hear the word ‘check’, what comes to mind? I’m sure this is a word that most students are familiar with. It is definitely not an understatement to say that it is a word that is constantly on the teacher’s lips, repeated countless times, before and after students attempt their work.
Why Do Students Not Check Their Work?
However, the reality is that despite the countless reminders, most students still dread to check their work. Over the years, I have come to realise that there are a few reasons why students do not check - lacking time, finding it tedious, and most importantly, being unsure of what to look out for when they check.
To be honest, when I was a student, I used to not check my work simply because I was unaware of what it was that I needed to check. I believed that so long as I complete my paper, that will qualify as checking. Therefore, until I learnt what it means by adding value to the 5-10 minutes I spend checking my work, I used to find checking a waste of time.
As such, I hope that my blogpost today will help enlighten parents and students who may share the same belief as the “old me”, as well as convince those of you who find checking tedious, to give it a shot too.
Since we should aim to check in all that we do, I decided to split my sharing up into a few blogposts. Today, I will focus on starting off with checking the least straightforward component in English - Continuous Writing.
1. Check if you can replace common verbs with vivid ones
When you read your work, do you see common verbs like ‘walk’, ‘run’, ‘look’? There’s nothing wrong with these words, but surely your vocabulary extends beyond them. Replace these common verbs with another more vivid verb to score for language and make your story more exciting!
If you find yourself using the same verb multiple times within your story, perhaps you can replace the others with a synonym!
2. Check if you have created variety in your sentence structures
Good writers provide a variety of sentences in their stories. They make use of both long and short sentences to add interest and break up the monotony of their sentences. Short sentences can help to emphasise an idea and create a punch. Long sentences can define, illustrate or explain ideas.
There are many ways in which you can vary your sentence structure. It can be as easy as adding an adverbial phrase (E.g. Finally, / Fortunately,) or changing the verb of a sentence. (I turned the corner and saw the little girl. —> Turning the corner, I saw the little girl.
3. Check if you have organised your composition properly in paragraphs
Although this may be the most obvious thing to take note of in any story, sometimes students get too carried away with their writing that they forget to paragraph it.
Paragraphing is important as it provides clarity for your reader. You also show that you have an awareness of your story flow when you paragraph accurately. Do check that you aren’t simply rambling on when you write! If you’re still unsure of how to paragraph properly, you may find this blogpost useful.
Now that we know what we need to look out for when we check our writing, let’s dive right into it with the sample below!
Some of you have already cultivated the good habit of checking your work by looking out for grammar, spelling and punctuation errors in your writing. However, I hope that what I’ve shared with you today has shown you that you can do much more. In fact, when you check, take it as an opportunity to look at your writing once more and edit it to score better!
For those of you who are not habitual checkers yet, let me encourage you to try it out. You’ll be surprised by your ability to improve your own writing with a little more effort. Of course, checking requires diligence. If you are willing to put in due diligence, I am certain you will reap the rewards of it! :)
The Write Recipe: How to set your composition up for success!
Content mastery + checking = success! Now that you know how to check your composition, it is time to think about whether you need to work on your content mastery. It all begins with planning and The Write Recipe is the online course to help you get started on learning about the essential ingredients for an interesting story! Find out more here.
About the Author: Ms Delia Siow is a dedicated teacher who is committed to providing an environment where a child can grow and thrive. She enjoys developing strategies to help students learn in a fun and meaningful way. Through her lessons, she hopes to help students lay a sound foundation in grammar and gain independence in their work. She strongly believes that good grammar is essential in students to gain proficiency in the language and finds joy in watching the bricks of their strong grammar foundation take form.