Fourth graders need a lot of practice writing detailed sentences. They're often good at writing introductions and conclusions. It's what sits in the center that gets them into trouble. Fourth graders often need help beefing up the middle of a writing assignment. Does your young writer need more details to take her writing to the next level? Make it fun by mixing in some creative artwork!
What You Do:
- Tell your budding artist she is about to use her creative art and writing skills to play a game. In this game, she'll be writing descriptions of suggested topics (below), then drawing pictures as you read her descriptions aloud. Share an interesting tid-bit with her and let her know that this is similar to what a police sketch artist does!
- Using the list below, have your child take out a pencil and a piece of lined paper, and write at least 4 detailed sentences on a topic of her choice. Ask her to answer these basic questions when writing about a story or situation: Who? What? Where? Why? and How? If she's writing about a place or object, rather than a story or situation, tell her to answer these questions instead: What does it look like? Smell like? Feel like? Taste like? Sound like?
- When she's finished, have your child give you her writing. But resist the urge to change anything or help her to revise what she has written. Read what she's written aloud, and while you're reading, ask her to use her colored pencils to illustrate what you're saying. Here's the catch: she can only draw exactly what you read.
- Have your child compare what she drew with what she wrote on paper. Does it match up? Is her drawing missing anything? If so, she may need to go back and add or delete a detail from her writing. Repeat this process for 1-2 more topics from the list. Then let her extend the activity, by adding her own topics. Want to get the whole family involved? Invite everyone else to play along and take turns with who reads and who draws.
1. Describe a car from the future.
2. Pretend you found a message in a bottle on the beach.
3. Describe a scary monster.
4. Describe your facial expression when riding a roller coaster.
5. What would you buy if you found $100?
Mary Anne Edwards is a freelance writer with teaching experience in Preschool, First, and Fourth Grades. She has also taught Second Grade Title One reading groups.