Top Tips for Terrific Essays


Have fun putting these top tips into your own writing and all the best with your entry into the 5th Grade Essay contest sponsored by American Mothers.

Top Tip 1: Put YOU into your writing! As a 5th grader, you have been on Earth for about 10 years. That’s about 87,660 hours of memories and experiences you can add into your writing. You can also include ideas from what you have learned from reading books, watching TV and talking to people.

Top Tip 2: Write from your heart and your head! As well as what you know and have experienced, you have wonderful feelings and opinions to include in your writing. Listen to your inner voice! This helps your writing to be unique. The contest topic of “What My Mother Means to Me” is perfect for this top tip!

(Just remember that some writing tasks require you to write formally. An information report contains lots of facts about a particular topic. A procedure explains the process of doing something like baking a cake. A newspaper article is a recount of an event. You tend to avoid using your own voice in these styles, and don’t include words like ‘I’ or ‘my’; you simply stick to the facts.)

Top Tip 3: Make it match! Follow essay guidelines carefully so that your writing matches the requirements. Grab a highlighter pen /tool and highlight all the important words in the guidelines. When you finish your draft, ask yourself, “Have I stuck to the guidelines?” “Is my writing a great match?” Pat yourself on the back for following them.

Top Tip 5: Use treasure words. These are words that make your writing come alive and helps the reader form interesting pictures in their mind. Treasure words are descriptive and offer important details. Have you used a thesaurus before? You can search for words that have similar meanings. Look up some of the words you have used in your draft and see if you can change them to more adventurous words.

Top Tip 6: Go the extra mile! Great essays often require careful planning. Spend 10 minutes jotting down ideas, knowledge and potential treasure words before you begin drafting. And, before you publish, read your writing over and over, listening to the way it flows. Making improvements at this stage turns a good essay into a masterpiece! To check for spelling mistakes, try reading your essay backwards – it makes you look at one word at a time!

“Writing is thinking on paper.”William Zinsser