How to write like a 5th grader: 8 Effective writing techniques for every writer’s tool kit

How to write like a 5th grader

How much time do you study what makes some copy pop and other writers fizzle?  My 5th grader often demonstrates stronger writing principles than many professionals employ. Her recent book report illustrates 8 effective writing techniques for every writer’s tool kit.

Let’s start with the 5th grade copy

Molly Moon’s Hypnotic Time Travel Adventure Book Report
by L.D. (my 5th grader)

I did my book report on Molly Moon’s Hypnotic Time Travel Adventure. In the book Molly Moon’s companion, Petula, gets kidnapped — or may I say dognapped — by their new gardener. In my scene Molly Moon is looking out her window when Petula is outside and the gardener is petting her and, Poof!, they both disappear. How will Molly solve the mystery?

This book includes…

  • Suspense
  • Magic
  • Dogs
  • Adventure
  • Mystery
  • Evil gardeners


Genre: fantasy fiction
Author: Georgia Byng

I think that people who like fantasy or fiction would love this series. You should read the one before this one, Molly Moon’s Incredible Book of Hypnotism. This book is around a level T-U. I think whoever wants a good book with action, suspense, dogs, evil gardeners, fantasy, and magic will love this book!

How to write like a 5th Grader

  1. Clearly state your purpose up front
  2. No one has to guess what her paper is about.
  3. Use an authentic voice
  4. Who wants to read a dry explanation when you can chat and learn the same thing?
  5. Don’t be afraid to play with punctuation
  6. Sure the exclamation after “poof” isn’t technically correct, but it adds drama and energy in just the right place.
  7. Use the right words
  8. Companion is better than pet. Dognapped is better than stolen. ‘Nuff said.
  9. Effectively use humor
  10. If you don’t know Petula is a dog, “may I say dognapped,” adds a smile to your face and an invitation to sit beside the writer.
  11. Make it short and scannable
  12. A list is often better than a paragraph. Variable paragraph styles keep your eye moving down the page.
  13. Every writer needs a proofreader
  14. The punctuation and capitalization in the original version made it clear that it was written by a 10 year old; don’t let your writing send the same message.
  15. Engage your audience
  16. How, indeed, will Molly solve the mystery? I certainly want to learn more and if I was a fan of the book, I’d be sure to leave a comment, wouldn’t you?
  • Richard Posey

    Now I want to read it.

    • peggyd

      Let me know if I missed anything, will you? I can’t wait for her teacher to read it on Monday.

  • Scrbelbas

    Thank you! I am about to write a manual – exxxcellent reminders!