Tài liệu How to improve paragraph writing

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TÊN CHUYÊN ĐỀ: HOW TO IMPROVE PARAGRAPH WRITING 1 TABLE OF CONTENT PART A. INTRODUCTION ........................................................................ 3 PART B. CONTENT .................................................................................... 3 I. Overview about a paragraph .................................................................... 3 1.Whai is a paragraph? ............................................................................ 3 2. The structure of a paragraph ............................................................... 3 II.Essential elements to make an effective paragraph ................................ 4 1. Paragraph Unity .................................................................................. 4 2. Time order parargraph ........................................................................ 4 3. Paragraph coherence ......................... Error! Bookmark not defined. 4. Completeness ...................................................................................... 5 III. Some techniques to improve paragraph writing ................................... 5 1. Generating ideas for writing ............................................................... 5 2. Setting up an outline ........................................................................... 8 3. Considering paragraph length ............................................................. 9 4. Using linking words in the paragraph ................................................. 9 5. Proof- reading ................................................................................... 10 IV. Sample of a paragraph ........................................................................ 11 PART C. CONCLUSION ........................... Error! Bookmark not defined. REFERENCES ............................................ Error! Bookmark not defined. 2 TÊN CHUYÊN ĐỀ: "HOW TO IMPROVE PARAGRAPH WRITING" Tác giả: Nguyễn Thị Lệ Thu PART A. INTRODUCTION Writing is one of the language skills that has to be mastered by the students as well as the three other skills. Writing is considered the most difficult one because when doing writing activity, the students are required to pay attention to the content, organization, vocabulary, language use and mechanics simultaneously. The students also should arrange and organize the ideas clearly so that the readers do not misunderstand on what they write. The students also sometimes get difficulties in getting ideas to write. Because of many things that the students have to think to make a good writing, the students often get difficulties in expressing their ideas into a well composition. So how to improve writing skills ? Everyone has a different reason why they need to improve writing. Maybe you need to improve your writing for work or for your English class at university. Or maybe you want to start a blog about learning English or you need to respond to emails in English for your business.etc. This paper is written with the aim of sharing some of my experience about how to improve paragraph writing, which is very necessary for the students taking part in the tests as well as in the national exams. PART B. CONTENT I. Overview about a paragraph. 1. What is a paragraph? A paragraph is a number of sentences grouped together which relate to one topic in a coherent and logical sequence. Every paragraph should have one topic, which is usually presented in the first sentence called the topic sentence. All the other sentences in the paragraph must develop and support the topic. 2. The structure of a paragraph 3 A paragraph is made up of three components: a topic sentence, supporting sentences and a concluding sentence. II. Essential elements to make an effective paragraph 1. Paragraph unity. Unity in a paragraph begins with the topic sentence. Every paragraph has one single, controlling idea that is expressed in its topic sentence, which is typically the first sentence of the paragraph. A paragraph is unified around this main idea, with the supporting sentences providing detail and discussion. In order to write a good topic sentence, think about your theme and all the points you want to make. Decide which point drives the rest, and then write it as your topic sentence. 2. Time order paragraph. Order refers to the way you organize your supporting sentences. Whether you choose chronological order, order of importance, or another logical presentation of detail, a solid paragraph always has a definite organization. In a well-ordered paragraph, the reader follows along easily, aided by the pattern you’ve established. Order helps the reader grasp your meaning and avoid confusion. 3. Paragraph coherence. Coherence is the quality that makes your writing understandable. Sentences within a paragraph need to connect to each other and work together as a whole. One of the best ways to achieve coherency is to use transition words. There are a number of transition words you can use in a sentence to create coherence in a paragraph. Relationship Transition words Space Nearby, next to, here, around the corner, to the right Contrast However, on the other hand, otherwise, whereas, but, although Compare Similarly, in the same way 4 Addition Furthermore, also, in addition, moreover, likewise, too Time Finally, meanwhile, suddenly, previously, afterward Cause and effect Consequently, therefore, hence, because, as a result Example For example, that is, for instance, to illustrate Summary In conclusion, finally, consequently, in other words 4. Completeness. Completeness means a paragraph is well-developed. If all sentences clearly and sufficiently support the main idea, then your paragraph is complete. If there are not enough sentences or enough information to prove your thesis, then the paragraph is incomplete. Usually three supporting sentences, in addition to a topic sentence and concluding sentence, are needed for a paragraph to be completed. The concluding sentence or last sentence of the paragraph should summarize your main ideas by reinforcing your topic sentence. III. Some techniques to improve paragraph writing. 1. Generating ideas for writing. When you are given a writing task, the first thing you should do is to think about the topic and find ideas for your task. This activity is called brainstorming, which is useful for timed essays, such as in a test, or for a writing task There are some popular ways for brainstorming. a. Listing Listing is an activity where you think about the topic and make a list of your ideas. Example: Reasons for going to university  To study a particular subject  To get a good job in the future  To make friends 5  To have fun b. Mind- mapping. A mind map is a strategy for making notes on a topic, prior to writing. It is a structured strategy, which shows the (hierarchical) relationship of ideas, as opposed to an unstructured strategy, such as brainstorming, in which students produce notes at random on paper. Having an organized display of information from the outset of the writing process may help some students, as it is more easily converted into a draft, whereas in brainstorming, the random recording of ideas might lead to problems. Making a mind map should be a spontaneous pre-writing activity. Students start with a topic at the centre and then generate a web of ideas from that, developing and relating these ideas as their mind makes associations. Mind maps work well as their visual design enables students to see the relationship between ideas, and encourages them to group certain ideas together as they proceed. Mind maps work especially well when created in groups, since the discussion this engenders aids the production of ideas, and makes the task livelier and more enjoyable. How to make mind maps with your students? To draw a mind map, Students should: - Write the topic in the center of a blank sheet of paper, Think of any word or phrase that is related to the topic and write it next to the topic. - Draw a line between the word and the topic. - Think of a new word related to either one of the two words on the sheet and write it down. - Continue until you have enough ideas. 6 Now this is a model of a mind- mapping Connection with companies New class Internship programs Part-time jobs To make friends clubs Future career tennis Reasons for going to university Graduate school To have free time before starting to work to study a particular subject Don’t have to study what I don’t like Interesting classes travelling Flexible schedule Time for finding myself Knowledgeable professors 7 2. Setting up an outline Once a topic has been chosen, ideas have been generated through brainstorming and free writing, and a working thesis has been created, the last step a writer can perform in the prewriting stage is creating an outline. An outline allows a writer to categorize the main points, to organize the paragraphs into an order that makes sense, and to make sure that each paragraph/idea can be fully developed. Essentially, an outline helps prevent a writer from getting stuck when performing the actual writing of the paragraph. A basic outline of a paragraph Topic sentence: A. Supporting idea 1 1. 2. 3. B. Supporting idea 2. 1. 2. 3. C. Supporting idea 3. 1. 2. 3. Concluding sentence: An outline example of a paragraph: Topic sentence: Choosing a college or university can be difficult for high school graduates. A. Good preparation for your major 1. Thorough, solid curriculum 2. Qualified professors 8 B. Affordability 1. Ability to pay tuition and living expenses 2. Possibility of scholarships C. Good Location 1. Study environment 2. Possibilities of part time job in major Concluding sentence: Students should consider these points carefully so they can choose the most appropriate college or university for them. 3. Considering paragraph length – not too long and not too short Generally, the paragraph length varies and each paragraph must be long enough to cover the main points. Paragraphs that are overly long can be tedious to read, and reduce coherency in your writing. On the other hand, paragraphs that are overly short (consisting of only one or two sentences) can be distracting for the reader, making your writing appear disjointed and less cohesive. There are no hard-and-fast rules for how long a paragraph should be. Instead, make sure there are natural breaks. Each paragraph should contain one main idea and whatever writing supports it. 4. Using linking words in the paragraph. Use linking words to achieve the effect of unbroken continuity. For example, the words hence, so, therefore, but, and, or and then will connect the sentences and make the paragraph a well-knit whole. Use expressions like on the other hand, on the contrary, nevertheless, but, yet and still to contrast ideas or present alternatives. The first sentence is the key sentence in a paragraph. It should introduce the central topic. The last sentence should round off the idea expressed in the paragraph. To list points: 9 - Firstly/ First of all/ In the first place/ To start with/ To begin with - Secondly/ Thirdly/ Finally  To list advantages - One/ Another/ A further/ An additional (major) advantage/ benefit of.... is.... - The main/ greatest/ first advantage of .... is....  To show addition -besides, further, furthermore, in addition, moreover, next…  To list disadvantages - One/ Another/ A further/ An additional (major) disadvantage/ drawback of .... - The main/ greatest/ most serious/ first disadvantage/ drawback of... - Another negative aspect of .... is ....  To introduce examples: - For example/ For instance/ such as/ in particular/ especially.... - Take...for example. To conclude: - In conclusion/ On balance/ All things considered/ Taking everything into account, it can be said claimed that/ it would seem that/ it is clear that/ there is little doubt that.... - All things considered, the obvious conclusion to be drawn is that... - It is clear/ obvious that.... 5. Proof-reading Once you have finished writing, it is essential that you re-read your paragraph two or three times to check it for misspelled words and poor grammar. Spelling mistakes and bad grammar can significantly impact the perceived quality of your paragraph, even if the ideas and arguments it contains are of a high quality. It is very easy to overlook small mistakes when writing, so don't skip this step, even if you're in a rush. Ensure that each sentence has a subject and that all proper nouns are capitalized. Also make sure that all of the subjects and verbs agree with each other and that you use the same tense across the entire paragraph.[6] 10 Use a dictionary to double-check the spelling of words that you are unsure about, don't just assume that they are correct. You can also use a thesaurus to find synonyms for words, if you feel like you are using the same term too much. Just remember to look up whatever word you choose from the thesaurus in the dictionary to make sure you know the precise meaning of it. Thesauruses group words very loosely, and they don’t all mean the same thing. For example, the thesaurus gives “chirpy,” “ecstatic,” and “merry” as synonyms for “happy,” but each of those words has its own connotation, or particular shade of meaning, that can change the tone and even meaning of your sentence if you aren’t careful. Check your paragraph for the proper use of punctuation, making sure that you use marks such as commas, colons, semicolons and ellipses in the correct context IV. Sample of a paragraph. Unit 7- English 10: The Mass Media Write a paragraph about the advantages and disadvantages of one of the mass media. - Generating ideas by listing Advantages of TV Disadvantages of TV 1. Television helps us to learn more about the 1. Television can make us passive. world and to know and see many new things We don’t have to think so our brain 2. Television can make things memorable becomes lazy. because it presents information in an effective 2. It encourages us to buy things way. that we don’t need. 3. It entertains us. Watching it is an enjoyable 3. It takes time away from activities way to relax. such as reading and games. 4. It increases the popularity of sports and 4. Some television programmes may games. make people violent. - Setting up an out line Topic sentence: Television brings us a lot of advantages as well as disadvantages. 11 Supporting sentences: A. Advantages 1. Helping us to learn about the world. 2. Making thing memorable 3. Entertaining 4. Making us aware of our global responsibilities. B. Disadvantages 1. Making us passive. 2. Encouraging us to buy things that we don’t need. 3. Taking time away from activities such as reading and games. 4. Making people violent when watching some propgrams. Concluding sentence: Television is neither good nor bad and whether it is beneficial or not depends on the way we use it. - Writing a paragraph Television brings us a lot of advantages as well as disadvantages. Firstly, television helps us to learn more about the world and to know and see many new things. Secondly, it can make things memorable because it presents information in an effective way. Thirdly, it entertains us. Watching it is an enjoyable way to relax. Finally, television makes us aware of our global responsibilities. However, there are some disadvantages of television. First of all, television makes us passive. We don’t have to think so our brains become lazy. Another disadvantage is that it encourages us to buy things that we don’t need through advertisements. In addition, it takes time away from activities such as reading and games. Furthermore, some television programmes may make people violent. In conclusion, television is neither good nor bad and whether it is beneficial or not depends on the way we use it. 12 PART C. CONCLUSION Writing skills can be the ticket to better college grades and greater academic achievement. This paper has presented some techniques which may be helpful in writing a paragraph, especially for students who participate in exams for excellent students as well as in university exams. I have used these techniques to teach writing to my students in the previous school year. I hope that this paper will receive constructive comments from fellow teachers in different gifted high schools with a view to perfecting it and making it a more useful material for teaching paragraph writing. 13 REFERENCES 1. Writing academic English- Alice Oshima & Ann Hogue- The second edition 2. Successful writing proficency - Virginia Evans 3. Nunan, D. (2004). Task-based language teaching / David Nunan: Cambridge University Press 4. Writing skills in practice- Diana Williams 5. Writing in paragraphs- Dorothy E Zemach Carlos Islam- E-book 6. Howatt, A. (1984). A History of English Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Websites: http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Paragraph www.cambridge.org 14
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