Writing Can (and Should be) Planned

There’s a famous saying that goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” While this paints the worst case scenario, planning before writing can certainly improve the quality of the writing and also make the process easier.

Here’s why planning should be done :

1) The beginning is almost always the hardest and many students find it difficult to start writing. As a result, they tend to write clichéd and predictable introductions like: The sun is shining brightly” or Rrrring!!! the school bell rang without much thought or consideration for the rest of the story.

However, if students are taught to plan for the entire composition or story, they are more likely to be confident and feel at ease when they start writing the narrative.

2) Although most students are taught in school to have a basic structure (introduction, body, conclusion) in their narrative, there is more that needs to be planned for every stage of the story- beginning, introduction to problem, climax, resolution and ending. If proper planning is not done for these stages of the story, chances are there are going to be many “plot holes” or “narrative gaps” in the story, which simply means that the story does not feel complete.

3) Aside from ensuring that there are no “plot holes”, students should also be taught how to transition smoothly from one paragraph to the next. Again, it is essential to plan these transitions before a child starts to write. If not, the “flow” of the story will not be smooth and the paragraphs might end pre-maturely.

In light of these reasons, we teach our students to plan by asking questions and answering these questions at every stage of the story before they actually start writing the story.

Asking the right questions enhances the children’s self-awareness about what they are writing. Additionally, asking questions and thinking about the answers improves children’s metacognition (thinking about thinking). Eventually, these traits will become second nature to them and will make them more reflective writers and thinkers.

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