How to help your students better understand descriptive text {Freebie}

"Timothy Bunker left Darwin, Australia in 1869 with one thing on his mind, feathers."

                                                    Photo by Camille Milano

When students write opening sentences like that, I know they're onto something.  I have no idea where the story is going, but I want to keep reading!

Understanding descriptive text is sometimes best learned by writing it.  You can read about how I did it in my 6th-grade classroom here.

This freebie on Descriptive Writing, which comes with a (flexible) week's worth of lesson plans might be helpful to you.  

It helps to start with basics, like identifying what to look for.  This page is helpful to put into Interactive Notebooks if you're in the classroom.

Fiction and nonfiction are approached separately, although there are some similarities.  Mentor texts are used to help students identify the various components.


My favorite thing to do with students is to have them write, in the style of the mentor text, to create their own piece.  Students are more willing to try with some scaffolding in place.  I often let them share the first few sentences with classmates, who are quick to suggest, encourage, and draw ideas from what they hear!
  • Download this Descriptive Text packet here.

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