How to Boost Your Writing Skills
One of the biggest challenges students transitioning from elementary to middle school face is learning how to write academic essays. They may have had some experience writing theme or response papers, but generally all the experience to this point has been limited to learning composition. Here are five tricks to know about writing great assignments:
- Practice Proper Format and Structure
- Learn How to Use and Cite Sources
- Use Effective Arguments and Evidence
- Learn to Write Effective First Drafts
- Edit and Proofread Your Assignments
Academic essays should follow proper format and structure. The five-paragraph format will likely be the first you learn. Consisting of an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion, it applies to many kinds of assignments and can be modified pretty easily to fit longer assignments as you progress academically.
When you present an argument you can’t simply state that you are correct without providing some supportive material. And when you do find information or ideas that fit your argument but are not your own you need to apply proper credit. Learn to use citations correctly, and learn what information you must include so that others can find the original source.
To add on to the previous piece of advice, you should learn how to use effective arguments and evidence. You can brainstorm several ideas and find material to support your claims. But you can’t simply list everything you have come up with in columns. You need to select the best arguments and the best pieces of evidence (or examples) to effectively make your case.
So many students go into a writing assignment without thinking about first getting their rough ideas onto paper (or the computer screen). They struggle to come up with words or phrases that say exactly what they mean. But a first draft shouldn’t be perfect at all. It can be filled, and often is, with tons of mistakes, repeated ideas, undeveloped ideas, etc.
Finally, learn how to edit and proofread your assignments before submitting them for grades. When you edit you are trying to fix your writing so that it is clear and concise. When you proofread you are basically reading the entire text and ensuring there are no mistakes in grammar, spelling or punctuation.