Help and Guidance
The writing strategies in this section will help you to break down and plan your work. Planning your writing down to each individual sentence will save you loads of time.
Keeping it simple is a good rule of thumb when writing for practical purposes. Good writing is about getting over a clear and understandable message to the reader. Being concise will greatly help the reader pay attention to the main points.
Basic writing help:
The two most important principles for clear and understandable writing are planning and sentence structure. Break every piece of writing down to its individual sentences, and then build it back up again.
It is also essential to understand that every sentence should consist of a subject and a verb. Applying this principle will help to keep your sentences clear and to the point. Click here for Writing Help. It will show you how good, straightforward writing is constructed.
How to write the perfect essay:
Once you have the basics under your belt you may want to develop your essay writing skills, either for work or education. Click here for How to Write the Perfect Essay. Once you get the hang of this simple to follow method you’ll find it saves you loads of time.
If you are currently in education you will get higher marks for writing your essays this way. This is because it is the educational standard. It’s clear and understandable structure makes it perfect for using in real life.
One to one tuition:
If you need any extra help with any of the topics covered in this section you may want to have some one to one tutoring. You will get help that is specific to the problems you face as a dyslexic person. Click here for One to One Tuition.
Writing can, at times, seem overwhelming and confusing. However the more you break your writing down and plan everything out the easier it becomes. You may be thinking you don’t have the time to plan everything down to the individual sentences. This is what is known as a false economy. The more you plan the more time you save in the long run. Click here for learning strategies.
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Essay Writing Tips for Dyslexics
A guide to writing essays, specifically to help students with Dyslexia.
The biggest challenge
For a dyslexic student, essay-writing presents the biggest challenge! Planning to meet a deadline is enough to bring on a panic attack!
Your difficulties with organization will also make it extra hard to sort out the shape of an essay. You will also find it hard to arrange all that you know - quite apart from the spelling and grammar. However, with your computer ready, these methods will help:
Draw a 'Mind Map'
Begin your diagram with a circle in the middle of a sheet of paper. Inside the shape or on the line, write the name of your topic. From your circle, draw three or four lines out into the page. Be sure to spread them out.
At the end of each of these lines, draw another circle. Write the main ideas that you have about your topic in each circle, or the main points that you want to make. If you are trying to argue a point, you want to write your main arguments. If you are trying to explain a process, you want to write the steps that should be followed.
From each of your main ideas, draw three or four more lines out into the page. At the end of each of these lines, draw another circle. In each circle, write the facts or information that support that main idea. When you have finished, you have the basic structure for your essay and are ready to continue.
The introductory paragraph tells the reader what the essay will be about.
You must now look at your diagram and decide what is the main point you will be making. Your initial statement will have two parts. The first part states the topic, e.g. Concern about global warming. The second part states the point of the essay, for example that global warming is caused mainly by pollution of the atmosphere by vehicle exhaust fumes:
The introduction should be designed to attract the reader's attention and give them an idea of the essay's main argument.
Many people find the introduction very hard to write, but you could begin with:
an attention grabber, like interesting or information (People are dying each week from malnutrition brought about by drought in north African coutries. This is caused by our automobiles.),
a pertinent fact that illustrates the point you wish to make (The Polar ice cap is melting.),
an anecdote - a little story that illustrates your point (I have noticed in recent years that winters seem to be getting shorter.),
a dialogue between two (perhaps imaginary) people (Peter was arguing with his friend Jacob that polar bears are in real fanger because the polar ice cap is melting. Jacob simply replied that the bears will have to find somewhere else to live.), or
summary Information (The average temperature of our globe has risen 0.6 degrees in the last century, and is continuing to rise. This change has been attributed partly to the use of aerosols which have destryed parts of the protective ozone layer.).
Finish the introductory paragraph with a statement of your main argument.
'The subject of global warming is causing us all concern as we hear about the Polar ice cap melting and the shortage of rainfall in some countries. In parts of northern Africa people people have been unable to grow their crops because of the lack of rainfall. Children are dying and the ground is turning into desert. In this essay I will argue that global warming is not a natural process, but is being brought about by the high level of air pollution caused by human beings, especially through vehicle exhaust fumes from automobiles.'
Use the ideas in the outer circles to write each paragraph. A paragraph is about five sentences (more or less) separated by spaces before and after.
The first word may be indented (pushed further over) by about six spaces, and there is a key on the keyboard with two arrows on which will do this automatically to the text.
Develop each point as if you were explaining it to a person you are talking to. Discuss each point as well, pointing out the opposite viewpoint as well as your own:
'In recent years, more and more people have easy access to an automobile, and many families have two or three. Our lifestyle often revolves around our personal transport, and, when we buy a house, we do not think of being near shops or leisure facilities. We know that we can just drive there, so we choose an attractive house in ana attractive area, if we can afford it. Some people might argue that this is our choice and it gives us greater personal freedom, but we are not sufficiently aware of the impact our driving is having on the environment.'
Signpost words, such as "However", '"Nevertheless", "Therefore", and "Although" will help you pursue your argument. They tell the reader about the direction in which you are arguing, or when there is a change of direction.
"Some people take the view that we should wait an dsee what happens. All this anxiety may be unnecessar. However, if we do wait much longer, it may be too late to start to correct matters."
"Although we are still waiting for the results of many scientific experiments which are measuring climate change, I feel that we should take action now to reduce air pollution."
"The world's climate is slow to change. Nevertheless, once it has begun to change, it is hard to reverse ."
"The effect of automobile pollution on our cities is visible today. We must try, therefore, to find serious alternatives to gas-guzzzling automobiles if we are going to be able to breathe in our cities."
The conclusion sums up your points, providing a final perspective on your essay. All the conclusion needs is three or four strong sentences which do not need to follow any set formula. Simply review the main points (being careful not to restate them exactly) or briefly describe your feelings about the topic.
'Although some people are skeptical about the causes of global warmong, there can be no doubt that our world is warming up. The rate of change is alarming, and this is no time for a 'wait and see' approach. We need to commit resources to the scientific investigation of the causes of the rising temperature if we are to be able to take action to control it before its effects devastate our planet. The first and obvious action is to change the way in which the greatest polluter is fuelled - the automobile.'
Before you can consider your essay a finished product, you must read and check through your paper. Does your argument follow? Does it make sense to a reader? Perhaps you can ask another person to read it and give you their opinion.
Check the order of your paragraphs. Which one is the strongest? You might want to start with the strongest paragraph, end with the second strongest, and put the weakest in the middle.
Check the instructions for the assignment. Make sure that you have spell-checked it and typed your name on the sheet!
Are your margins correct?
Have you titled it as directed?
What other information (name, date, etc.) must you include? Did you double-space your lines?
Spell-check your work.
Run a grammar checker.
Leave it for a few hours and then read it again.
As a dyslexic person, you may suffer from a below average short-term memory, which makes tasks involving planning quite difficult. Whilst you are able to write competently, the combined acts of thinking and writing together become quite difficult - a bit like trying to eat a boiled egg while running round the block!
Try to separate thinking from writing correctly: use your word-processor. This will allow you to type away happily - using two fingers is quite satisfactory - not worrying about any spelling mistakes you make, and come back later (e.g. the next day or in the evening) to sort out the spellings and punctuation. Use the built-in spelling checker and the right-hand button on the mouse to find the correct spelling when a word is underlined in red as being incorrectly spelt. In this way the two operations will become separated.
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