What are WORD PICTURES? Phrases we read or write that we can SEE even WITHOUT ILLUSTRATIONS–they are so vivid! Sometimes students need to work on SMALLER PIECES OF WRITING, not always complete stories. Working on phrases helps writers to get warmed up and to boost their imagery in a way that doesn’t feel overwhelming. Then later, it will be easier to create word pictures in longer pieces of writing. It’s sort of like being able to walk a half-mile before trying to run a marathon.

Students should first try to FIND WORD PICTURES in published pieces of writing. See several examples in the video above, including “flooding waters, wildest waves, and harshest hurricanes blasted” (from the fable The First Feud). Students can write word pictures they find in books in the handout included below.

Next, students can try WRITING WORD PICTURES. Start by having young authors look around and write word pictures for things they see, such as: “a kicked-in-the-corner, two-inch gnawed pencil” or “a wobbly stack of cartoon lunch boxes.” Find more examples in the video. After writing word pictures about things they SEE, then have students write word pictures for things they REMEMBER, such as what they had for breakfast, a vacation detail, their last family celebration, etc. See examples of Lynn’s word pictures in the video. Students can also write their own word pictures on the handout included below.

For a fun gimmick to share word pictures–whether ones students read or write–have them read the word pictures to others while holding a PICTURE FRAME in front of their faces. The idea is to have the words “framed” as if the words are creating the pictures–and they are!

You might keep a running LIST on chartpaper in your classroom of word pictures students find as readers and ones they write as writers. Such a list helps to “make writing visible.”

NOTE: Thanks to Betsy who commented on the last EAR CANDY blog by saying that she was going to share the mini-lesson in the VIDEO WITH HER STUDENTS. I’d always envisioned these videos for teachers, but I think Betsy is on to something. By all means, share these videos with students–as mini-writing lessons. Then you can follow-up with the handouts/organizers that are included and have students practice the skill taught in each video.

ONE MORE NOTE: In the COMMENTS SECTION, please share some of the word pictures YOUR STUDENTS write.

Word Pictures Handout

Books which include word pictures featured in the video:
The First Feud, The Dump Man’s Treasures, & Thank You, Grandpa

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