Let’s think about descriptive writing for a second. It involves adding elaborate details to written text to draw in the reader. Students begin writing with simple sentences, and over time they add more and more detail. This takes practice though and can be more difficult for some students. With a few tools and ideas, building their confidence in writing descriptive texts becomes much simpler. Let me show you.
Implement Fun Descriptive Writing Prompts
The hardest part of writing is often getting started. Students (and teachers) don’t want to take the time and energy to think of what to write on their own. They want to get ideas elsewhere, and there’s nothing wrong with that. This type of brainstorming often sparks bigger and better ideas.
I created 60 Descriptive Writing Prompts that your kids will love using during their writing block time. These prompts are free and can be found by following the link.
Some examples of prompts included are:
- Describe the most interesting person you have ever met.
- Describe the house you currently live in (or one you grew up in).
- Write about a day at the beach using all five senses.
- Your parents served the worst vegetable ever for dinner. Describe it in detail.
- Tell us about your favorite drink. Talk about the color, the taste, and whether it’s hot or cold.
- Do you think using descriptive writing is important?
These fun writing prompts are an effective way to teach students to use descriptive detail. They can be written in short sentences or full paragraphs. You may be surprised as students write more than you intended. Many of these prompts integrate the use of sensory details, drawing in the reader. Some encourage the kids in the use of figurative language as well. These prompts can easily turn into a short story!
Break Down What Descriptive Writing Is
Teachers often explain descriptive writing as a narrative, but they aren’t always narratives. Descriptive texts can be narratives, fictional texts, and so much more. It’s more than just adding a few descriptive words and calling it a day. Adding detailed description means drawing in the reader with main points and exciting descriptive language.
Trying to think of common examples of descriptive writing? Try explaining it to your students like this:
- A book is a narration that tells a story.
- The packaging on a box of crackers described the contents, but doesn’t tell a story.
Have kids think of their favorite food and the packaging it comes in. Have them bring the packaging in and use descriptive elements to write about the food in a creative way. You will see them use vivid details and tons of adjectives to describe the box and the food inside.
Before your students begin writing, model plenty of texts to them. Do this through fun stories or your personal writing pieces. Keep them short and simple so students can learn and add on to what you have said. They can use their descriptive writing skills to beef up what you started or when beginning their own writing process.
I recommend using mentor texts to show students what good descriptive writing looks like. There are tons of descriptive writing models perfect for elementary school. They are probably already reading them on their own without even knowing it. Encourage them to think about the books they read on a daily basis and apply those descriptors to their writing.
Learn more about descriptive writing in my How to Teach Descriptive Writing post.
Provide Students with Weekly Paragraph Writing to Practice Descriptive Writing
One of the easiest ways to help students with their writing skills is to have them apply their knowledge weekly. Give them all the tools they need to succeed and then let them practice those skills over and over and over again. This good descriptive writing practice will give them the confidence they need to continue writing in all forms.
My Descriptive Paragraph Writing Printables are a fantastic way to engage students every week while they emerge themselves in fun writing prompts. These prompts are available in printables worksheet form or digital form. Each day helps the students add more and more detail to their good descriptive essay. Use them as morning work or during writing block.
Descriptive writing requires lots of brainpower and creativity. It may take some students longer than others to achieve good writing skills. Using pre-made descriptive writing prompts, mentor texts, and weekly paragraph writing prompts will help them on their road to success. Use the ideas in these 3 posts to bring some fun into the classroom as your kids become confident writers!