1. Think and plan your NAPLAN writing test before you write.
Boring – yes but completely necessary. Never forget that writing is a mixture of style and structure.
2. Don’t start writing until you know how you are going to begin and end your piece.
Remember: With Creative Writing – Keep the reader guessing, create tension and a complication, hold information back. The character must want something and something else gets in the way. We have really helpful Creative Writing scaffolds in our book.
With a persuasive text you must also make sure that you follow a structure that makes sure you have the biggest impact. Make a claim, explain your arguments and draw on evidence. Refute opposing arguments and then end with an explosive statement. Simple? Well start practising – again we have really helpful scaffolds in our Persuasive Writing book.
3. Start and end your NAPLAN writing test with a bang!
Leap into your story or your persuasive piece from the first sentence. Grab the attention of the reader from the get go. Start in the middle of the action – don’t delay or dawdle. Get the story moving. Start your creative writing piece with dialogue to get the story moving, “Brian, get out of the fire!” Start your persuasive with a bold claim – Plastic is not fantastic!
4. Focus on VCPs in your NAPLAN writing test.
Vocab. Connectives. Punctuation. All very, very, very, important because these mechanical parts of language create a cohesive piece of writing and help a reader understand.
So a few pointers here – the more sophisticated language you use, the higher mark you will score. So learn a few challenging words like litigious, longevity or luminescent. If you search for challenging words for NAPLAN you will find lists of words.
Connectives are important words such as because – when you write a sentence with because it immediately becomes more complex because you have to explain. Other connectives such as although and however also indicate complex ideas and others such as in addition indicate an ongoing argument to the reader.
Punctuation is also vital – use it! Not just faithful old full stops and commas. All the family – the speech marks, colons and ellipses – each one creates rhythm and music in your writing.
5. Show don’t tell in your NAPLAN writing test – in all your writing.
Teachers always go on about this because it really is one of the foundation skills of good writing. It takes a while to develop this ability and when you do – your writing will lift up from the page and leap into the mind of the reader.
There are a few aspects of showing not telling.
It is always much better to show feelings rather than tell. If your character is angry, don’t say – he was angry – say – he kicked the rubbish bin.
Don’t say – she was beautiful – try and really explain what beauty is – so the reader can understand. Ban all the following words – beautiful, gorgeous, great, fantastic, so cool, random. Work harder and use words to explain what it is you can see that is so enchanting.
The other part of showing not telling is a little harder but if you can pull it off – it really works well. If you want to argue that dogs are better than cats, for example, show the reader. Create a scene of an enthusiastic happy dog or a demure, soft puppy and contrast that with a scene of a feral cat. See how persuasive you can be.
As you can see, writing is actually very hard and takes a long time to master. It is something you can always improve on. There is lots of help out there on the internet and of course, we can help too.
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