Essay writing is an essential skill that you will need all your life, not only in school. This week's picks are directed students from grade six through college, and not only look at essay reports, but also address answering essay questions on tests.
Freelance tech writer and college teacher Tom Johnson offers a thorough tutorial on how to write an essay, broken down into ten steps from research to editing the final draft. And although there are no guarantees in life or in writing, I agree with Johnson's conclusion: "If you carefully follow the ten steps for writing an essay as outlined on this site -- honestly and carefully follow them -- you'll learn how to write an essay that is more organized, insightful, and appealing. And you'll probably get an A"
"Don't let the thought of putting pen to paper daunt you. Get started!" Homeschooling mom Kathy Livingston includes sample essays in her eight-step approach to essay writing for middle-school students. She advocates a diagram (or mind map) to organize ideas that becomes the basic structure for your essay and will lead you into the creation of your thesis statement. "The thesis statement tells the reader what the essay will be about, and what point you, the author, will be making."
Brought to you by Purdue University Online Writing Lab, this lesson starts with a question. "What is a well-written answer to an essay question?" A well-written exam essay is well focused, well organized, well supported and well packaged. It then continues with dozens of essay writing tips such as how to use common writing devices including providing details, examples, comparisons, classification, or examination of cause or effect. It even lists useful transition words such as: yet, similarly, though, despite, however, conversely, next, subsequently, and so on.
Designed for students in grades six through twelve, this section of the Writing Den introduces parts of an essay, how to write an essay, and eight kinds of essays: definition, classification, description, compare/contrast, sequence, choice, explanation, and evaluation. "In a compare and contrast essay, you write about the similarities and differences between two or more people, places, or things. You can organize the essay by writing about one subject first and then comparing it with the second subject. A more effective way is to organize the essay by comparing each subject by category."