Does your child know how to write good composition beginnings? To do well in primary school English compositions, students should learn some effective composition writing techniques.  Effective writing techniques help to captivate readers and draw them into the story.

Primary school English composition writing is getting more challenging. With the latest PSLE English composition format, students are expected to write captivating and creative stories within 50 minutes. The composition has to be within the topic and based on at least one of the three pictures provided. This is not an easy feat, even for adults!

How can our children write captivating compositions within such a short amount of time?

They need to learn effective writing techniques. To captivate readers right from the start, students should learn writing techniques to write good composition beginnings.

There are various ways to write good composition beginnings. One of the writing techniques that we teach our upper primary students in our writing classes and online Writing Academy is Foreshadowing.

Write Good Composition Beginning Using Foreshadowing

What is foreshadowing?

Foreshadowing is a writing technique where writers give a clue or a warning about a future event. This clue or warning usually appears at the beginning of a story. Students can write good composition beginnings using foreshadowing.

The Purpose of Foreshadowing

The main purpose of foreshadowing is to build a sense of suspense. Writers foreshadow to prepare their readers for events that will happen later in the story.  Foreshadowing is a simple way to write captivating composition beginnings. It keeps readers engaged and intrigues them to continue reading.

Foreshadowing in Children’s Literature

Example 1: Charlotte’s Web

In the popular children’s classic, Charlotte’s Web, there is a character called Templeton, which is a rat.  In the story, Templeton was given a goose egg that did not hatch.  Charlotte, the wise spider in the story, told him this:

“A rotten egg is a regular stink bomb.”

That means the rotten egg was going to be really stinky if Templeton broke it.

Templeton replied confidently,

“I won’t break it, I know what I’m doing.”

What do you think happened later in the story? Well, the egg was broken and everyone ran from the barn because the rotten egg smelled really bad. It was a stink bomb!

This is a simple example of using foreshadowing to write captivating story beginnings. The earlier dialogue between Charlotte and Templeton foreshadowed this incident of breaking the rotten egg. That dialogue gave readers a clue about what would happen later in the story. That is foreshadowing.

Example 2: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

In this popular story, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the students in Hogwarts heard strange sounds in the walls. Those strange sounds were warnings or clues of the monster that they would later discover. Here, the author used the writing technique of foreshadowing to give readers a clue that something was going to happen later in the story.

The strange sounds in the walls that the students heard earlier in the story foreshadowed the appearance of the monster later.

Foreshadowing is an effective way of writing good story beginnings. It tells readers to stick with the story because something exciting is going to happen later.

Using Foreshadowing To Write Good Composition Beginnings 

Let’s look at some ways that primary school students can write captivating composition beginnings using foreshadowing in their English compositions

1. Foreshadowing Through An Object

This is done by letting a character in the story notice something at the beginning of the story. It is more effective if the character decides to ignore what he or she has noticed.

For example,

Before leaving the house, Jack’s mother took a second glance at the open window. “It probably won’t rain,” she thought and walked briskly out of the door.

What do you think happened later in the story? It rained, of course.

The open window is the object that foreshadows the rain that is going to happen later in the story. When Jack’s mother decided to ignore the open window and expressed her thought that it probably would not rain, readers are forewarned.  They got a clue or warning that it would rain later in the story. Students can write captivating composition beginnings using foreshadowing through an object.

2. Foreshadowing Through A Character’s Feelings or Thoughts 

In the previous example, Jack’s mother thought that it probably would not rain. Her thoughts foreshadowed the rain that happened later in the story. When we foreshadow a future event through a character’s feelings or thoughts, we do so by describing what that character feels or thinks. We write this at the beginning of the composition. The feeling or thought should be about an event that is unexpected.

For example,

“Bye Mum, see you in the evening!” Sharon exclaimed as she picked up her bag and walked towards the door. Her mother gave her a wide smile and bid her a cheerful goodbye. Before leaving the house, Sharon turned and looked at her mother again. An unexplained sense of unease filled her heart.

The above is an example of a captivating composition beginning with foreshadowing. The ‘unexplained sense of unease‘ is a foreshadowing of something that will happen later in the story. Jane’s feelings foreshadowed the future event. Readers have a clue that something will happen to Jane’s mother later in the story.

3. Foreshadowing Through A Narrator’s Statement

An easy way to captivate readers at the beginning of the composition is to foreshadow through a statement. This happens when the narrator explicitly tells readers that something is going to happen later in the story. For primary school students who are not advanced writers, this is the easiest way to use foreshadowing in their English compositions.

The way to do this is simply to include a sentence at the end of the first paragraph (introduction). This sentence gives readers a warning or clue that something is going to happen later in the story.

For example,

George sprinted out of the house towards the lift.  His neighbour, Uncle Tony, was watering his plants at the corridor. George greeted him cheerfully and dashed towards the lift. Uncle Tony gave him his usual toothless grin before waving goodbye. Little did George know that that would be the last time he would see Uncle Tony.

The final sentence ‘Little did George know that that would be the last time he would see Uncle Tony‘ foreshadows that something is going to happen to Uncle Tony later in the story. This type of sentence usually sends a shiver down readers’ spine. Readers will want to read on to find out what happens to Uncle Tony later.

A simple sentence like this adds a sense of suspense to students’ compositions. When used properly, foreshadowing is an effective writing technique that can set a composition apart from the others.

More Foreshadowing Statements

Here are some other examples of foreshadowing through a narrator’s statement:

Bob had no idea that that would be the longest day of his life.

Kelvin would never have imagined that his laziness would get his family into deep trouble.

Never would I have imagined that my recklessness would endanger the life of my dear sister.

As you can see from the above examples, using a narrator’s statement is one of the easiest ways for primary school students to use foreshadowing in their composition beginnings.

The narrator’s statement is usually written at the end of the first paragraph.

For example, here is a good composition introduction for the topic “A Painful Lesson”:

Dennis strolled nonchalantly into a perfume shop at the shopping mall. Shoppers were browsing the items on display as upbeat music played softly at the background. Stealing a quick glance over his shoulder, Dennis grabbed a bottle of perfume from the shelf and swiftly put it into his pocket. As quick as lightning, he strode out of the shop as if nothing had happened. It was not the first time Dennis shoplifted. However, before the day ended, he would deeply regret his actions.

The final statement is the one that foreshadows a future event. This sentence gives us a clue that something will happen to Dennis later in the story. This is the last sentence of the introduction.

Conclusion

Foreshadowing is a simple way for primary school students to write good composition beginnings. There are three ways to foreshadow a future event – through an object, a character’s thoughts or feelings and a narrator’s statement.

Try out this writing technique of foreshadowing the next time you write your English compositions!

Interested to learn more?  Join our online Writing Academy to learn more effective writing techniques and get your compositions marked and reviewed by former primary school teachers! The detailed feedback provided by our Writing Coaches, who are experienced former primary school teachers, help students improve their English composition writing skills.

Author: BIG IDEAZ

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