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Seasoning the Story

Using Descriptive Language in Writing

Just as a chef adds spices to a dish to awaken the palate, a writer must know how to pepper their work with language that is vivid and descriptive. This playlist will show students how to use their powers of observation to capture moments through descriptive language. By learning how to pay keen attention to details, students will become stronger writers regardless of whether they are writing fictional accounts or informational essays.

Use Descriptive Adjectives | LearnZillion*

Have your students practice using descriptive adjectives in their writing. This video lesson walks students through the process of transforming their writing by adding adjectives.

Use Descriptive Language | Flocabulary*

This music video shows students a strategy for creating vivid descriptions by using sensory details and increasing the effectiveness of their writing.

Adding Descriptive Details Worksheet |

This worksheet asks students to fill in the blanks in short paragraphs by picking from a list of adjectives.

Adding Descriptive Detail Words to Sentences | IXL

This interactive practice asks students to choose the best descriptive details to add effect to a sentence based on what is shown in an image.

Inventing Your Own Bug | PBS LearningMedia

This quirky lesson plan invites students to invent their own creepy, crawly bug. They’ll describe and draw their insect, then come up with a name that reflects the characteristics they have given their bugs.

Monster Trading Cards | ReadThinkWrite

This is an alternative to the Inventing a Bug lesson. Students begin by thinking about different monsters they know from literature and other forms of media, generating a list of words to describe them. Then they’ll use a template to create their own monster trading cards, using visually descriptive language to write descriptions of their monsters. This lesson plan can span two 50-minute sessions.

Descriptive Writing with Virginia Hamilton | Scholastic

For students who are ready to apply their descriptive writing skills beyond sentences, Newberry Medal-winning author Virginia Hamilton provides students with sample writings, tips, strategies, and challenges to help them develop their own descriptive writing. She’ll guide them through the process of brainstorming, writing and publishing their own work.

Extension Activity: National Geographic Picture Prompts

Let the National Geographic’s Best Photos of 2018 inspire your students to write lush, flavorful descriptions. This gallery contains images from all over the world that elicit deep emotions. Invite students to imagine themselves in the scene and describe it as vividly as possible, tapping into the sights, smells, sounds, and sensations to write captions, one paragraph descriptions, or short poems. Be advised that some of the pictures featured are graphic in nature or contain mature content. We recommend that you view the gallery on your own, and select images that are appropriate for your class. Then, allow each student to select one that piques their interest the most.

Eboni Hogan

Content Specialist

Eboni has extensive experience in curriculum development, with a focus on culturally-responsive and arts-based approaches. Having spent years creating academic content and providing professional development to teachers, she now curates themed playlists meant to provide educators with valuable, time-saving resources.

Common Core Standards


Choose words and phrases for effect.


Choose words and phrases to convey ideas precisely.


Expand, combine, and reduce sentences for meaning, reader/listener interest, and style.

Building Towards:

4.W.3.d and 5.W.3.d

Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely.

Teacher Resource

Teacher Resource: How To Teach Descriptive Writing | Reading Rockets

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