Writing with the Senses Background Information for Teachers and Parents

Grade Levels: K-3

This page contains information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about writing with the senses.  The information is designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. movie Writing with the Senses. It explains the type of content covered in the movie, provides ideas for how teachers and parents can develop related understandings, and suggests how other BrainPOP Jr. resources can be used to scaffold and extend student learning.

Writing with the senses is an important part of writing well. Adjectives bring writing to life and pull the reader into the text and help activate his or her imagination. Sensory details help the reader feel like he or she was there and create a more intimate connection to the narrator or writer and a greater understanding of the text. Adjectives help set mood and tone in the text and help establish a strong voice.

Encourage your child to think about how and why adjectives can improve his or her writing. By focusing on what your child feels, hears, sees, tastes, and smells, your child will be able to add these details into their writing and create strong sentences. Your child should understand that good writing appeals to more than one sense. For example, a strong paragraph about a trip to the zoo will include not only details about what animals the narrator saw, but also details about what the narrator smelled, felt, heard, and touched. These details help transport the reader to the zoo and establish a deeper connection with the writer.

Sometimes writers choose to focus on one sense and develop details related to that sense fully. For example, a descriptive paragraph about a busy city could include mostly details that deal with sounds. This allows the reader to focus on a sense and experience a familiar setting in a different way. We recommend watching the Writing a Paragraph movie together as a review.

During the prewriting process, encourage your child to think of adjectives and sensory details that he or she could use in her writing. Teach your child how to create charts and take notes in order to organize his or her sensory details that will liven up their writing.