3 Skills Every High Schooler Needs to Write A Successful Essay

Essay writing skills tips from teachers at Kids First Children's Services in Sydney's northern beaches

Most of us didn’t like writing essays when we were in school.

Assignments always seemed long, and tedious, and no one wanted to do them.

Still, there were some kids who always seemed to get the best marks for their essays.


Well, it’s not because those students were inherently smarter, or because they had a certain talent.

Any student can write a successful essay.

All they need is three, specific skills.

Developing those skills may take more work for some students than others, but if you have them, any essay is going to be a slam dunk assignment.

Skill #1: A Wide Vocabulary

Essays are about the expression of ideas, and you need to have access to a wide variety of words in order to make your point.

Sometimes, students might try to take a shortcut by looking up words in a thesaurus to sound more intelligent, but a teacher is always going to know when that happens. It takes very little skill to look a word up and jam it into an essay. However, it takes a great deal of skill to understand when those words should be used, and to weave them together in an appealing way.

It sounds easy, but developing your vocabulary is like developing an Olympic physique; you can’t do it overnight.

It takes years of reading, and listening, in order to put an edge on your language skills. That’s why it’s important to read, write, and embrace language early on, instead of waiting till high school and going on a crash course.

Skill #2: Learn How To Break Tasks Down

Repairing a house can be a nightmare. Anyone who looks at a tumble-down house and tries to see it as a whole project, is going to be overwhelmed by just how much work they have to do.

But if you’ve ever watched a show like The Block, you’ll know that expert renovators focus on one part of the project at a time.

For instance, they don’t try to repair the whole house in one day.

Instead, they might just tear out the carpet. Or repair the floorboards. Or put up new gyprock. And, before you know it, the whole project is complete!

Writing an essay is a little bit like renovating a house.

Students can get intimidated by looking at the 10,000-word project as a monolithic undertaking.

But if all you have to do is lay one more layer of bricks today, and another layer tomorrow, it’s not as hard as it looks.

With a ‘bit by bit approach’, the essay is done by the time the deadline comes around.

Being able to work a little at a time, and to understand how big a bite the student can actually chew, is essential in producing solid work.

Skill #3: Understanding How to Construct a Paragraph

While there is something to be said for free-form writing, kids need to understand the rules before they go about breaking them. Traditionally a paragraph needs to include:

– A topic sentence.

– An explanation of the concept that’s being discussed.

– Facts, statistics, and other forms of evidence that explain a position.

– A summary statement that explains how the facts fit together, and what they mean.

Paragraphs constructed in this way are easy to follow, make clear points, and are necessary for essays that construct a solid argument.

It takes work, and practice, to view issues in this way, though.

And because of this, students need to be taught how to arrange their thoughts, and facts, for the best possible results.

These are just a few of the skills high schoolers will need to acquire before they graduate, and they are just some of the skills that Kids First director and teacher, Sonja Walker, helps high schoolers to develop in our small group tuition programs.

For more information on how you can prepare your high schooler for success, simply contact us today!

© 2017 Sonja Walker
Kids First Children’s Services

Call Kids First now - 9938 5419

Does your high schooler need an English tutor?

Kids First Children’s Services Director and teacher, Sonja Walker, leads successful and engaging weekly tuition groups that help kids to become better essay writers.

Sonja’s classes are always poular, so call Kids First Children’s Services on (02) 9938 5419 to chat about your child’s needs, or click on the image below to find out more about high school English tuition at Kids First.

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