4th Grade Frenzy: Teach Descriptive Writing All Year Long
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June 7, 2022

Teach Descriptive Writing All Year Long

Students may benefit from working on descriptive writing throughout the year. The descriptive writing ideas below start with building background knowledge and proceed to students writing on their own.

1. Share examples of descriptive writing.

In the beginning, you can introduce descriptive writing by pointing out descriptions on products such as cereal boxes and packages of toilet paper.

Next, move on to descriptive writing in books. You could use books you have on hand because many stories have descriptive writing.  If you are reading a chapter book as a read-aloud, you could casually point out descriptive writing here and there without disrupting the story. Make it a point to share examples of vivid descriptions.

2. Have students write a descriptive sentence. 

Once students have some background knowledge, they can try out some descriptive writing for themselves. One way to start out is by using photos from magazines or travel brochures. Give each student a photo and have them make a list of words to describe the picture. Encourage the use of the 5 senses. Students then use their descriptive words to write a sentence that describes the picture. Have students share their sentences.

3. Expand on simple sentences.

Give students a sentence with little or no descriptive words such as:
The cat walked across the yard.
Model expanding the sentence to something like:
The smoke gray cat stealthily walked across the backyard in search of a field mouse.
Give students a few sentences to expand on their own. Use this activity as morning work, a warm-up, exit ticket, or informal assessment.

4. Continue descriptive writing throughout the year.

Starting slowly with descriptive writing will keep students focused on the skill without getting overwhelmed. As you introduce figurative language, challenge students to include these elements in their writing. Keep a descriptive writing learning center in your rotation.

This resource works great in a learning station and is perfect for students who are ready to move on to develop their descriptive writing skills in paragraphs:

Remind students that clear descriptive writing paints a picture in the reader's head and prepare to "see" some amazing paintings!

Need more ideas for descriptive writing? Try

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