Package 4-2: Creating literary description

This lesson aims to support your child to write a literary description based on a character.

Week 5 - Package 2 - Year 5 and 6 English/literacy - Creating 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 aims to support your child to write a literary description based on a character.

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 creating a literary description. The teacher will guide your child as they learn how to 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:

  • revising what a literacy description is
  • exploring how to structure a literary description
  • creating a literary description
  • editing and getting feedback on their description.

Options for your child

Activity too hard?

Have your child build vocabulary first to help them with their sentences.

Your child may prefer to rewrite a literary description from a character they already know quite well.

Activity too easy?

Your child can create a literary description from the point of view of a different character.

For example, if writing about Miss Trunchbull, your child could write about Matilda from Miss Truchbull’s point of view.

Extension/additional activity

Your child might create a literary description of a destination and create a travel brochure.

Activity sheet 1: DIAL into a character

Your task

  • Read the literary description about Miss Trunchbull.
  • Complete the DIAL into the character table below using the questions to guide your answers.

Image and text extract from Roald Dahl’s ‘Matilda’

"Miss Trunchbull, the Headmistress, was something else altogether. She was a gigantic holy terror, a fierce tyrannical monster, who frightened the life out of pupils and teachers alike. There was an aura of menace about her even at a distance, and when she came up close you could almost feel the dangerous heat radiating from her as from a red hot rod of metal.

When she marched – Miss Trunchbull never walked, she always marched like a storm trooper, with long strides and arms swinging when she marched along a corridor you could actually hear her snorting as she went, and if a group of children happened to be in her path, she ploughed right on through them like a tank, with small people bouncing off her to left and right.

She was above all a most formidable female. She had once been a famous athlete, and even now the muscles were still clearly in evidence. You could see them in the bull neck, in the big shoulders, in the thick arms, in the sinewy wrists and in the powerful legs. Looking at her, you got the feeling that this was someone who could bend iron bars and tear telephone directories in half.

Her face, I’m afraid, was neither a thing of beauty nor a joy for ever. She had an obstinate chin, a cruel mouth and small arrogant eyes. And as for her clothes...they were, to say the least, extremely odd. She always had on a brown cotton smock which was pinched in around the waist with a wide leather belt. This belt was fastened in front with an enormous silver buckle…”

Activity sheet 2: Character bubble map

Your task

  • Use this map to brainstorm vocabulary.

Activity sheet 3: Literacy description

Your task

  • Write a character description to introduce your reader to your character.
  • Use a character you already know, or create your own!​
  • You might like to visualise and draw your character first to help you.

Some tips to consider:

  • Incorporate into your description the puzzle pieces from the literary devices puzzle guide​.
  •  Use sophisticated vocabulary​.
  •  Use adjectives to help the reader visualise your character​.
  •  Incorporate a mix of simple, compound and complex sentences​.
  •  Use punctuation for effect (! , ? : ; … ,)​.
  •  Use literary devices, such as metaphor and simile, in your work​.
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