4 ways to start a PSLE composition

types of beginnings for psle composition

Why is it important to know the different ways to start a PSLE composition?

For the PSLE exam, one of the basic requirements is to start a PSLE composition with a creative beginning. The purpose is to start the story off on the right foot by engaging the reader.

How to start a composition then?

Today , we will talk about the 4 types of engaging beginnings to start a PSLE composition :

  1. Beginning with a line of speech or thought
  2. Using a flashback introduction
  3. Beginning with a character profile
  4. Starting with a story hook

1) Beginning with a line of speech or thought

This beginning “shows” the main character’s actions in a vivid manner by using the main character’s self thought or dialogue.

Beginning a story with the main character’s thoughts or dialogue is a more appealing way to grab the reader’s attention, as compared to just writing the actions in a straightforward manner.

It is the very first sentence of the story and combined with a descriptive setting to form the complete introduction paragraph.

How to write a line of speech or thought

Based on the given topic picture 2, a possible storyline is how I overcame my fear of public speaking.

To begin with the main character’s speech or thought, the pupil must be certain where and what the main character was doing at the start of the story.

In this case, I could be in school, waiting for my teacher to start the lesson.

Step 1 – Including the main character’s thoughts or speech

Where’s Miss Tan? She’s rarely late for class,”

Step 2 – Adding the main character’s feelings

“Where’s Miss Tan? She’s rarely late for class,” I wondered quizzically.

Step 3 – Ending with the main character’s actions

“Where’s Miss Tan? She’s rarely late for class,” I wondered quizzically as I glanced at my watch.

  

2) Using a flashback introduction  

Another way of beginning a story is by using a flashback introduction paragraph.

A flashback introduction paragraph is the first paragraph of the story.

It begins the story with a single event which triggers the main character’s memory of the entire story.

The incident begins in the second paragraph of the story.

How to write a flashback introduction

Beginning with a flashback introduction  

Before writing, pupils will have to decide what the main character smelled, saw or heard that triggered the main character’s memory of the incident.

The flashback introduction and the story’s conflict must have a common detail. This is connect the flashback introduction to the story.

In this way, the reader can understand why and how the flashback introduction reminded the main character of the story plot.

Story plot based on Picture 2- My team won a treasure hunt competition.

Trigger for the flashback – The trophy which I was given for winning the competition.

Step 1 – Starting with the main character’s actions

It is likely that the trophy is somewhere in the main character’s room so the actions could be based on the main character’s actions as he tidied his room.

            Flinging open the cupboard, I grumbled softly as I started packing my books resignedly.

Step 2 – Inserting the trigger for the flashback

                Flinging open the cupboard, I grumbled softly as I started packing my books resignedly. Then a trophy tucked away in the corner of the cupboard caught my attention.

Step 3 – Adding the main character’s feelings

The feeling should be based on what happened in the story. Since the main character won the competition, it is likely that he was proud of himself.

                Flinging open the cupboard, I grumbled softly as I started packing my books resignedly. Then a trophy tucked away in the corner of the cupboard caught my attention. Instinctively, my face glowed with pleasure…

Step 4  – Ending with a linking sentence

As the flashback introduction takes place at a time later than the incident, there should be a linking sentence.

In this way, it will be clear to the reader that the story starts with a flashback introduction.

                Flinging open the cupboard, I grumbled softly as I started packing my books resignedly. Then a trophy tucked away in the corner of the cupboard caught my attention  Instinctively, my face glowed with pleasure as vivid memories of that memorable day came flooding back.

3) Beginning with a character profile   

The beginning starts the story with a description of the main character’s personality traits.

The chosen traits should play an important role in the story so that a reader can understand why the story starts with the character profile.

Like the flashback introduction, a main character profile forms the first paragraph of the story.

How to write a character profile

Start a PSLE composition using character profile

Based on the given topic picture 1, a possible storyline is Gina accepted a roller-blading challenge,  fell off a ramp and broke her leg.

Step 1  – Start with the main character’s first personality trait and supporting detail

Pupils should use a vocabulary adjective to state the personality trait then provide a reason by using a supporting detail.

Gina was a reckless girl with a devil-may-care attitude who readily accepted any dare that was thrown at her.

Step 2 – Add the main character’s second personality trait and supporting detail

Gina was a reckless girl with a devil-may-care attitude who readily accepted any dare that was thrown at her. Add to that, she also had a rebellious streak. Despite being repeatedly castigated by her parents and teachers for her unruly behaviour , she was intent to do as she pleased. 

Step 3  –  Complete with an ending sentence

Gina was a reckless girl with a devil-may-care attitude who readily accepted any dare that was thrown at her. Add to that, she also had a rebellious streak. Despite being repeatedly castigated by her parents and teachers for her unruly behaviour , she was intent to do as she pleased. Needless to say, her failings resulted in a rather unfortunate incident.

4) Starting with a story hook 

The purpose of a story hook is to “hook” the reader’s attention with an attention-grabbing beginning.

Although there are several types of story hooks, the one which can be used in most compositions is the question hook.

Using the question hook, pupils can pose a question to the reader. In this way, the hook entices the reader to continue reading the story and find out what happens in the rest of the story.

How to write a story hook

Learn how to start  PSLE composition with a story hook
Step 1 – Create a “thinking” question related to the title

Have you ever thought how you would overcome a big disappointment?

Step 2 – End with the related answer

Have you ever thought how you would overcome a big disappointment? Well, such an incident happened to me and this is how my story went.

The above are the 4 different types of beginnings that Primary 5 and PSLE pupils can use when writing a composition.

To learn the different ways to start a PSLE composition , contact us to find out more about our Primary 5 and PSLE writing classes.

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