In third grade, your child will start to learn higher level writing skills. This may be the first time they are writing open ended prompts. There are three different types of essays they will learn to write.
An informative essay prompt will look something like this: Your family is going on vacation and a pet-sitter is coming to care for your pets. Write a note explaining how to care for them. To answer this, your child should describe the pet, it’s schedule for things like feeding and exercise, what the pet likes and doesn’t (for example, Fluffy likes to be scratched behind the ears, but do not grab her tail), and what to do for that pet if there is an emergency (call a neighbor, go to the vet, or something like that). Even if the information isn’t perfectly accurate (for example, your child may not know that the family dog takes regular medication), all the information should make sense and follow a logical flow.
An opinion essay prompt will look something like this: What does it mean to be a good friend? To answer this prompt, they will have to provide a lot of detail and thought. This can be challenging because opinion essays tend to be more abstract, but they still need to logically back up their ideas. For example, they may write that a good friend tells funny jokes, but they need to give detail on what would be funny between them or what wouldn’t be funny at all. Additionally, the essay needs to be properly organized. Opinion essays should have full paragraphs, and your child should close the essay with a concluding paragraph with a summary of the argument. This argument doesn’t have to be particularly sophisticated, of course, but it should be clear and logically follow the ideas they have written about. Following the previous example, they may write that it would be funny for their friend to walk around pretending to be a penguin because that’s a funny way for a person to move, but that it wouldn’t be funny to say that penguins look stupid because that’s mean.
A narrative essay prompt will look something like this: Have you ever been lost? Write about your experience. To answer this prompt, your child should use descriptive writing and dialogue to tell their tale. Using the “five senses” is an important factor in writing a successful narrative. For example, they may have gotten lost in a clothing store and are writing about that experience. They would describe the colors of the clothes, the smell of the store, or the loud sounds of all the people there. The events of the story, whether real or imagined, should follow logical time order, as well.
To help your child become a better writer, enroll in Reading Genie today!
Genie Academy provides after-school enrichment programs for students covering math, reading, writing, and coding. With locations throughout New Jersey, including Plainsboro, our programs are tailored for students in Pre-K through 8th grade.1