In composition writing, it all starts at the theme. A good plot is the result of understanding the theme and using the pictures given well. Seems easy enough. So why do even good writers lose marks in Content or their composition is considered ‘out of point’? Here are 4 tips to help you manage the themes in your compositions followed by a model on honesty written by one of our students.

Four tips to help you manage the themes in your compositions

1. Study your theme

Read your theme carefully and pause to highlight the key words. Example, ‘honesty’ in the theme ‘Being Honest’ or ”unforgettable’ and ‘event’ An Unforgettable Event’.

2. Reflect on how the theme can be linked to one, two or all of the pictures

Start playing with ideas on how you might use the pictures and relate it to the theme.

3. Plot your story, keeping the theme in mind

As you plan out each section of the story, try to mention the theme : whether its the synonym or opposite of it.

For example, in the theme ‘An Unforgettable Event’, you may use the words, ‘memorable’ or ‘remember’ in your composition. You may also use personal thought, “How will I ever be able to forget…”

4. Don’t flip the theme

If the theme is on ‘Being honest’, then make sure that your plot is based on being honest and not on being dishonest.

A few weeks ago, I gave my P5 students a writing test on Being Honest and explained that keeping in mind the theme is essential when planning. Anyone who flipped the theme and wrote about dishonesty was penalized for it.

Remember that following the theme is important. Many schools are becoming increasingly strict when marking. Students in P3 and P4 have less of a problem going out of point because themes given are more direct and easier to interpret.

This changes as the students start writing in their P5 year.

Below is the model composition taken from one of my P5 students. I chose his composition because he understood the theme well and managed to write a descriptive and exciting composition without flipping the theme to dishonesty.

illustration English Compo on the theme of Honesty

Benjamin’s English Compo on the theme of Honesty

Note to students

The model compositions in this blog are to help students generate ideas and to be used as a guide. Students are not allowed to copy the model compositions and then pass them off as their own work, especially in school. It is called plagiarism.

I walked with a spring in my steps back home after school.  I had just completed my Primary School Learning Examinations and was planning on how to spend the rest of my day.  I could probably spend the day watching television or playing computer games.  I continued rushing home while thinking what to do when I got home.

Ah boy, can you help me take care of Kayden?  I need to go out for lunch with my friends.  I have already cooked your lunch.  It is on the table.”  Mother quickly rushed out after saying that.  “What a revolting turn of events!”  I thought frustratedly.  Kayden was my annoying three-year-old brother who always asked me to play with him, always taking up my time.

Before I went to shower, I checked on Kayden.  He was asleep.  I quickly showered and ate my lunch.  “Yes!  I can play some computer games before he wakes up.”  At that thought, Kayden came rushing down the stairs, holding a ball.

“Kor Kor, can you play ‘catch’ with me?” he asked hopefully.  ‘Catch’ was a game where you just pass a ball to the person you are playing with.  It is really boring, but Kayden always asks me to play ‘catch’ with him.

“I thought you were asleep?” I asked him dubiously.  “I just woke up.  Now play with me please!” he squealed.  I had no choice but to agree.  I wished that Mother could have just taken him with her.

We sat down and I reluctantly started playing with him.  I almost fell asleep throughout the game.  This is torture, I thought,  I could have been playing my computer games right now!  I hope Mother will come back right this minute. 

Just as I was pondering about my bad luck, frustration gripped me and I accidentally threw the ball too high.  Everything seemed to happen in slow motion when the ball came back down.  Realisation hit me like a twenty-pound sledgehammer — the ball was going to hit the television!

A long crack started to form on the television.  Me and Kayden eyed each other in shock.  Mother was going to kill me.  Just then, my Mother strode in the house.  She looked at the television.

“Why is the television broken?” she asked.  I was in a dilemma.  Should I tell the truth or blame it on Kayden?  If I tell the truth, I would probably be banned from watching television for a week.  If I blame it on Kayden, he would be punished severely.  Before I could even decide, I found myself telling the truth.

After hearing my confession, my Mother hit the roof and bit my head off.  After she cooled down, she said to me, “You broke the television, but still decided to tell the truth.  I hope Kayden will learn from you.”  I heaved a sigh of relief after hearing that and went to play computer games, thankful my honesty prevented me from being punished.

I made a mental note to always be honest regardless of the consequences.  I also learnt that the right choice is not always the easiest to make.

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