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Kathy Ceceri

The Right Way to Write an Essay

By February 11, 2013

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Girl writingA few years ago I started worrying because my kids had never really written an essay. I immediately began a massive research project of my own, to find the best way to teach them all they needed to know.

The only thing I knew I didn't want them to do was to take notes on note cards, the way I was forced to do in elementary school. Didn't make sense then, really doesn't make sense now -- when it's so easy to copy and past notes from online sources and move them around on a computer.

However, I discovered that since my time in school, a new art form had been invented: the Five Paragraph Essay. I admit I tried it out with my kids as a start. But the limitations of this format quickly became clear.

I've got a new article laying out my thoughts on essay writing, complete with links and resources. And I'll be continuing my series about teaching writing soon with a piece about my method for getting kids to do in-depth research projects.

Feel free to share your opinions about essay-writing in general, and the Five Paragraph Essay in particular!

Image: Creative Commons/Flickr user Alexandratx


February 27, 2014 at 8:15 am
(1) Penelope says:

Hi Kathy,
How do you solve a problem of lacking interest in writing? Have you ever asked your kid to write something on a useful and relevant topic, but due to young age the kid found the task boring? Because in adulthood, when you have some responsibilities, no one wants to know wheteher you want to do what is assigned, and children should become ready for this someday.
No interest and no motivation cause cheating and using sites like this – http://www.writemypapers.org . I think you are strongly against it, like most of parents do

February 27, 2014 at 8:40 am
(2) Kathy Ceceri says:

Penelope, you’re really asking how do you teach a child to do things they don’t want to do. You can do that by assigning (age appropriate) chores, emphasizing personal hygiene, and other necessary activities that have to be done whether we want to or not.

But do you really want your kids to associate writing with unpleasant but necessary experiences? How will that help them develop motivation and interest?

My article on helping kids to learn to enjoy writing is The Key to Creative Writing: No Rules. I hope it’s helpful!

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