How to teach descriptive writing
There's no one way to teach descriptive writing. That said, teachers can:
- Develop descriptive writing skill through modeling and the sharing of quality literature full of descriptive writing.
- Include lessons such as the ones listed below throughout the year.
- Call students' attention to interesting, descriptive word choices in classroom writing.
Characteristics of descriptive writing
1. Good descriptive writing includes many vivid sensory details that paint a picture and appeals to all of the reader's senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste when appropriate. Descriptive writing may also paint pictures of the feelings the person, place or thing invokes in the writer. In the video section below, watch a teacher use a Five Senses Graphic Organizer as a planning strategy for descriptive writing.
2. Good descriptive writing often makes use of figurative language such as analogies, similes and metaphors to help paint the picture in the reader's mind.
3. Good descriptive writing uses precise language. General adjectives, nouns, and passive verbs do not have a place in good descriptive writing. Use specific adjectives and nouns and strong action verbs to give life to the picture you are painting in the reader's mind.
4. Good descriptive writing is organized. Some ways to organize descriptive writing include: chronological (time), spatial (location), and order of importance. When describing a person, you might begin with a physical description, followed by how that person thinks, feels and acts.
The Show-Me Sentences lesson plan from Read Write Think was created for students in grades 6-12. However, elementary teachers can modify the Show-Me sentences to make them interesting for younger students.
The Writing Fix provides a lesson plan for using Roald Dahl's The Twits as a mentor text to teach descriptive writing.
Teacher Laura Torres created a lesson plan that uses images to jumpstart vivid writing: Three Descriptive Writing Picture Prompts.
This packet contains two unique hands-on descriptive writing activities for 3rd through 6th grade students.
The first activity, Spice It Up, is designed to help students during a quick editing process (such as during a writing assessment) to replace their 'run of the mill' vocabulary with more effective word choices to influence the reader. This activity has students working in teams with the vocabulary cards (templates included) to create a list of synonyms to improve their writing.
The second activity, Cut & Paste, teaches students where and how to elaborate both in their own writing and others. This activity provides sample paragraphs that are missing information allowing for the students to pinpoint specific areas to elaborate. This is a step-by-step activity that shows students where to highlight and cut their papers in order to allow for more descriptive details.
Along with the above program, I have also developed a variety of writing and language arts activity books that make teaching these lessons fun and effective. Please click on the links below to preview these activity books.
Additional Writing Activity & Language Arts Programs
• Just Write: A Sentence
• Letters from Ted E. Bear - Friendly Letter Writing Activities
• Just Write: A Paragraph
• Just Conventions - Daily Grammar and Conventions Practice
• Daily Grammar Lesson Integrated with Science - 3rd Grade
• Daily Grammar Lesson Integrated with Science - 4rd Grade
• Daily Grammar Lesson Integrated with Science - 5rd Grade
• Teaching Research Skills
My Complete Grade Level Writing Programs
• Kindergarten Writing Program
• 1st Grade Writing Program
• 2nd Grade Writing Program
• 3rd Grade Expository Writing Program
• 3rd Grade Narrative Writing Program
• Expository Writing for 4th - 6th Grade
• Narrative Writing for 4th - 6th Grade
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Just Write: With Details & Elaboration by Kathryn Robinson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://www.writemath.com.