Students learn to include sensory details when they write descriptive essays.
Fourth grade students write various types of essays, including narrative, persuasive and descriptive. A fourth grader’s essay should be three to five paragraphs and include paragraph indentations and proper sentence structure. Effective descriptive writing paints a picture for the reader. When a fourth grader writes a descriptive essay about a person, she must generate a clear, vivid picture of that person. It is important to incorporate the senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, taste and emotion. These writing strategies will help a fourth grader effectively describe a person.
1. Choose the person who will be the topic of the essay. It can be someone you know well, such as your mother, father or best friend. You could choose to write about a person you have never met, such as a sports figure or a music star, someone who hurt or helped you or even an interesting person you saw at the mall.
2. Generate ideas for the essay. Write any thoughts that come into your mind about the person’s physical characteristics or personality. Include mannerisms, prominent features, special talents and distinctive moments. At this point, don’t worry about grammar or complete sentences. Simply jot down lots of words or phrases to use as a springboard for your rough draft.
3. Make a list of sensory details about the person. These elements are crucial to a descriptive essay. Write the words “sight,” “sound,” “touch,” “smell,” “taste” and “emotion” on separate lines. Next to each word, write brief descriptions of the person, fitting them into each category. Writers often focus on sight; this exercise will help you to incorporate the other senses into your writing as well.
4. Use a graphic organizer, such as a cluster map, to divide your ideas into paragraphs. Decide how you want the readers to feel after reading your essay. Include the most relevant descriptions that will convey those feelings.
5. Write an introductory paragraph that presents the person to your readers. Include phrases that transition well into the body paragraphs.This introduction lets readers know what to expect in the paragraphs that follow.
6. Write two to three body paragraphs. Make sure you “show” and do not just “tell.” You could describe the person’s features and physical characteristics in the first paragraph. The second paragraph might inform the readers of her mannerisms and personality traits. The third paragraph could relay an anecdote that gives insight into why you are writing about this person.
7. Write a concluding paragraph. Reflect what you wrote in the introduction. Reiterate why this person is special in some way.
8. Ask a friend or a parent to read your descriptive essay. Tell him to describe the person in his own words after he has read the essay. This will indicate whether or not you conveyed your main points. Edit the essay to correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors and sentence structure. Rewrite the corrected rough draft into a final product.