Wednesday, October 14, 2009

English composition part 4

Posting compositions is one of the easiest posts to write as they require no thinking or planning on my part - just type 'em out and voila! Anyway, I've been meaning to post more of Lesley-Anne's compositions but decided against doing so before the PSLE, to avoid any comparisons and add to her stress.

Now that the exams are over, here's one that she wrote this year. The style is slightly different from her usual one in that it has more descriptive narration.

Here are the instructions:

One day, you and your sibling were strolling in a nearby park. Suddenly, you heard a noise coming from behind you.

Based on the above situation, write a composition of at least 150 words. In your story, make use of the points below:

  • how you and your sibiling felt
  • what the both of you did
  • what happened in the end
The Wind

The sky was dark and raindrops made a "pitter patter" sound on my window. The wind was howling loudly outside my window. In the past, I hated storms. The flashes of lightning and claps of thunder made me feel uneasy, sometimes scared. Now, with my furry companion asleep in my lap, nothing about the storm scares me. He probably has a calming influence on me. I marvel at the fact that he is not afraid of storms himself, after all, he had been through a terrible ordeal involving a storm...

Alicia and I were walking at the park. We both loved that park. The occasional breeze would seem to whisper to me, as if it is saying: "Do you remember all the fun you and Alicia had in this park?" and I would recall how we used to sit on the swings while waiting for the ice-cream man to come and how we rode on the round-a-bout until we got dizzy. That day, the park was cooler than usual because of the rain the previous night and the playground was wet. Because of this, we had almost the whole place to ourselves and the park was peaceful without the laughter of young children sliding down the slide.

"Sis! Did you hear that?" Alicia asked, her voice trembling.

"Hear what?"

"The bush, it rustled!"

"The bushes always rustle when there's a breeze."

"I know that, but this one it... whined."

"Bushes don't whine!"

"But this..."

Her sentence was cut short. Then, I heard it too. A faint whine coming from a bush. I peeked in but I saw nothing. I felt something brush against my calf. It was hairy and a little wet. What was it? An image of a big, slimy hairy caterpillar crossed my mind.

"Yuck! Get it of my leg!" I shrieked.

"Get what of, Sis?"

"The caterpillar!"

She started giggling.

"Some fine sister you are! Help me now!"

"Does that look like a caterpillar?"

I turned around and saw the muddiest dog in the world. Its fur was matted and drenched and it looked as if it had rolled around in a pigsty.

"Aww... Sis! Let's take him home!"

Was she nuts?


"He is in the most sorry state ever!"

"Why would you want him? Just because Mom and Dad are vets and would take in an animal anytime doesn't mean that you should take him home! You don't even know what breed he is, let alone know how to take care of him!"

"He is a Jack Russell."

How did she know that? Anyway, I stood my ground. I wasn't going to let Alicia take that dog home. Being a Jack Russell, he would probably be hyperactive and would be able to tear the house down.

I dragged a protesting Alicia home leaving the dog behind. Our parents were not home yet. Thank God they work on weekends and come home late at night after bedtime or they would instruct me to bring the Jack Russell home after hearing Alicia's story. By the time Alicia wakes up tommorow, she would have forgotten about the dog. She is very forgetful.

Knowing Alicia, she would probably sneak out to go and get the dog. However, she could not as a storm was brewing.

As I looked out the window at those dark clouds, I could not help thinking about the dog who was going to get soaked again in the rain. On imagining how sickly it would look if it caught a chill, my heart softened. I wanted to go back to the park to bring it home. But one thing stood in my way. My fear of storms. The lightning and thunder always scared me, since young. However, I pluckered up my courage and went out the door.

I returned home with a shivering dog in my arms. Both of us were drenched, but it was worth it.

A clap of thunder brought me back to earth. The wind was still howling outside, reminding me of the day Fluffy came into my life.

Once again, her choice of words is very simple and she relies a lot on dialogue to keep the plot moving. I realise that's how I used to write as a student too. I think the grammar could be better but Lesley-Anne tells me she tends to make grammatical mistakes when she's writing quickly. I hope this is something that will correct itself in time.


Anonymous said...

Hi Mon

A very well-written compo, like a novel. If I may request, could you possibly highlight where the grammar mistakes are. My boy read it and asked me whether he was right in those areas, but I am not sure whether I got them right too.

Also, can I ask you this? Is it "Watch it comes alive" or "Watch it come alive"? Hope you can help.


monlim said...

Thanks T. Some of the grammar mistakes are in the tenses, eg "marvel" and shd have been indirect speech for "By the time Alicia wakes up tomorrow". Also some errors in particles, like it shd be "in the park", not "at the park". The teacher doesn't always correct all the grammar mistakes, she's more interested in the overall flow and ideas, which I think is a good focus.

The correct word in your sentence is "come", that's assuming that's the complete sentence, not just a phrase that's part of another sentence.

kjj said...

hi monica,

i like this compo. highly descriptive, got emotion n suspense too! very nice!

rgds - kjj

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mon

Is it because the "to" is omitted, "watch it (to) come alive"? Like "make her (to) cry"?

Anyway, my boy loves to read LA's compos, especially the piece on the hair-cutting.


monlim said...

Thanks JJ!

T: Umm... err... actually if you ask me specifically what the grammar rule is, I probably can't tell you! A lot of what I use is by intuition... I think in your sentence, it's a directive, like "Do this".

I'm hoping L-A's compos can help kids realise that they can write more naturally instead of the "model composition" way :)

Anonymous said...

Mon, timely sharing for non-PSLE students taking their exams soon. L-A has the gift of writing from you. True writing needs passion and of course can be trained. Pass exams, most people will go for model approach...Model Maths, Model Compo... LOL... (pun intended)


Hammie said...


I have my user name as Hammie as that's the name of my kids' hamster too. I came to know about your blog while I was looking for some 'tips' few months ago when my boy was preparing for PSLE. I enjoy reading your articles and your style of writing. As an expert in English language, may I ask you for some opinions on writing a compo from a non-human perspective. That's what my son wrote in PSLE (crab in the picture)and I was shocked and worried. Pls help.....Thanks

monlim said...

Hi Hammie (sounds strange saying that!)

To me, your son's idea is very creative - from the perspective of a crab, what an interesting compo it must be! The thing is, if it was up to me, I would love to read a non-conventional compo, as long as it's well written and describes the picture adequately, I would accept it for sure. But I'm not a PSLE examiner and truthfully, I have no idea how they would mark it. I don't even know if Lesley-Anne's non usage of "big" words will be a liability. I'm guessing that the most important thing is that your son didn't write out of point, I know quite a lot of marks are deducated for that. The picture didn't say it had to be the written from the child's perspective, right?

I understand it's worrying for any mum but there's nothing you can do now so try to keep positive. And take heart in the fact that you have a very creative child - that trait will carry him further in life than being able to score in a composition exam :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Mon! That was a very well-written composition by Lesley-Anne. Apart from the grammar mistakes, it was very well composed and interesting.

Sorry to read about the passing of Hammie. I have a female hamster called Hammie too. We named her after the boy in Baby Blues :)


monlim said...

Thanks Penny! I realise that Hammie is a very popular name for a hamster although this is the first time I'm hearing one named after the Baby Blues kid :D

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