A descriptive paragraph is made up of sentences that describes people, objects or places. It may describe how something smells, feels, tastes and looks. Adjectives (words describing nouns) are used when writing a descriptive paragraph. A descriptive paragraph can be part of a larger story or it can be a complete story by itself. Learning how to write descriptive paragraphs is an important part of students' curriculum.
Students can write a descriptive paragraph based on details you provide them. You can start by choosing a subject and then making statements about it. Add more details about the subject and allow the students to write a paragraph describing the subject. For instance, you can write a few sentences about a character, such as “the rabbit lay in a corner. It had been rained on. It had white fur. It was small. The rabbit was shivering.” The students can then write something, such as “the small rabbit with white fur lay in a corner shivering because it had been rained on.”
Take a walk with the students around the school or immediate neighborhood to take photos of things around you. Each student may be armed with a camera, notebook and pen. The students can use their notebooks to sketch what they see and take photos with the cameras. Once you are back in the classroom, let each student write a paragraph describing what he saw. The description can be written on the sketches or photos that were taken. Group together those with similar subjects so that they can write a paragraph describing their different views.
Cut pictures from newspapers or magazines and delete the caption on the pictures. Display the pictures to the students and let them write a description of what is happening. You can even ask them to describe what they think happened before and what may happen after the photo was taken. Beautiful photos or pictures will inspire the students to use descriptive vocabulary.
Using Sense Memory
Students can also write a descriptive paragraph of a past experience using their senses of sight, touch, smell or touch. For example, they can describe their bedroom, an outstanding friend or Halloween celebration. They should use their senses to help them write the description in a way that will create a vivid picture for the reader.
- “Learning to Write-Descriptive Paragraphs;” Frances Purslow; 2008
- “Write All About It: Activities for the Writing Process Grades 3, 4, 5;” Mary E. Sterling et al.; 1993
- “Descriptive Writing;” Tara McCarthy; 1999
- “The Writer's Workplace with Readings: Building College Writing Skills;” Sandra Scarry et al.; 2010