Package 4-1: Exploring literary description

In this lesson your child will use literary descriptions to add detail within a story, such as a character or setting.

Week 5 - Package 1 - Year 5 and 6 English/literacy - Exploring literary description

Things your child will need

Have these things available so your child can complete this task.


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Before your child starts

This lesson is the first of two lessons exploring literary descriptions. Students use literary descriptions to add detail within a story, such as a character or setting.

What is a literary description?

A literary description is a creative way to describe a person, place or thing. These are found in literary texts such as novels and poetry, but might also be found in persuasive texts, such as in a travel brochure describing a destination.

The most common literary descriptions are based around a character or a setting.

What your child needs to do

Your child will watch a video of a lesson about identifying and finding examples of literary descriptions in texts. The teacher will guide your child as they learn how to identify, explain and create a literary description.

Throughout the lesson, your child will be asked to pause the video to complete an activity on the activity sheets.

What your child can do next

Your child will be completing a range of activities, including:

  • learning what a literacy description is.
  • highlighting and annotating texts for key features.

Options for your child

Activity too hard?

Have your child find adjective clues that focus only on a character’s physical appearance first such as ‘matted’ or ‘smooth’ to describe the physical feature of hair. When confident, have your child look for adjectives to describe a character’s behaviour or actions such as ‘kind-hearted’.

Activity too easy?

Have your child find further examples of literary descriptions that focus on a setting of a story. Your child will still look for clues to describe physical features such as the metaphor: “The water was an emerald glistening in the sunlight”.

Extension/additional activity

Your child might find literary descriptions in different pieces of writing such as in news articles and travel brochures.

Activity sheet 1: Literary description puzzle

Your tasks

  • Highlight key features in the two character descriptions.
  • Use the puzzle to guide what you highlight.
  • Write annotations around the text extracts.

                  Text extract 1

                  A black shadow dropped down into the circle. It was Bagheera the Black Panther, inky black all over, but with the panther markings showing up in certain lights like the pattern of watered silk. Everybody knew Bagheera, and nobody cared to cross his path, for he was as cunning as Tabaqui, as bold as the wild buffalo, and as reckless as the wounded elephant. But he had a voice as soft as wild honey dripping from a tree, and a skin softer than down.

                  Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Books

                  Text extract 2

                  My brother Ben’s face, thought Eugene, is like a piece of slightly yellow ivory; his high white head is knotted fiercely by his old man’s scowl; his mouth is like a knife, his smile the flicker of light across a blade. His face is like a blade, and a knife, and a flicker of light: it is delicate and fierce, and scowls beautifully forever, and when he fastens his hard white fingers and his scowling eyes upon a thing he wants to fix, he sniffs with sharp and private concentration through his long, pointed nose…his hair shines like that of a young boy—it is crinkled and crisp as lettuce. (p. 135)

                  'Look Homeward, Angel' by Thomas Wolfe (Simon & Schuster, 1995, originally published 1929)

                  Text extract 3

                  This hobbit was a very well-to-do hobbit, and his name was Baggins. The Bagginses have lived in the neighbourhood of The Hill for time out of mind, and people considered them very respectable, not only because most of them were rich, but also because they never had any adventures or did anything unexpected: you could tell what a Baggins would say on any question without the bother of asking him. This is a story of how a Baggins had an adventure, and found himself doing and saying things altogether unexpected. He may have lost the neighbours’ respect, but he gained – well, you will see whether he gained anything in the end.

                  The mother of our particular hobbit – what is a hobbit? I suppose hobbits need some description nowadays, since they have become rare and shy of the Big People, as they call us. They are (or were) a little people, about half our height, and smaller than the bearded dwarves. Hobbits have no beards. There is little or no magic about them, except the ordinary everyday sort which helps them to disappear quietly and quickly when large stupid folk like you and me come blundering along, making a noise like elephants which they can hear a mile off. They are inclined to be fat in the stomach; they dress in bright colours (chiefly green and yellow); wear no shoes, because their feet grow natural leathery soles and thick warm brown hair like the stuff on their heads (which is curly); have long clever brown fingers, good-natured faces, and laugh deep fruity laughs (especially after dinner, which they have twice a day when they can get it). “

                  ‘The Hobbit’ by J.R.R Tolkien

                  Text extract 4

                  Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood.

                  If you’re reading this because you think you might be one, my advice is: close this book right now. Believe whatever lie your mom or dad told you about your birth, and try to lead a normal life.

                  Being a half-blood is dangerous. It’s scary. Most of the time, it gets you killed in painful, nasty ways. If you’re a normal kid, reading this because you think it’s fiction, great. Read on. I envy you for being able to believe that none of this ever happened. But if you recognize yourself in these pages – if you feel something stirring inside – stop reading immediately. You might be one of us. And once you know that, it’s only a matter of time before they sense it too, and they’ll come for you.

                  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

                  My name is Percy Jackson.

                  I’m twelve years old. Until a few months ago, I was a boarding student at Yancy Academy, a private school for troubled kids in upstate New York.

                  Am I a troubled kid?

                  Yeah. You could say that.

                  - Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief (Book 1) 2013 Penguin

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