School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 2

Reading/ELA | Informational | Literary | Writing | Language | Listening | Speaking

Lesson Seeds: The lesson seeds are ideas for the indicator/objective that can be used to build a lesson. Lesson seeds are not meant to be all-inclusive, nor are they substitutes for instruction.

Standard 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text

Indicator 7. Identify and describe the author's use of language

Objective d. Identify language that appeals to the senses and feelings


Select a text that contains rich language that appeals to the senses. In addition to stories, poems can also be rich in descriptive language. Discuss the specific words that authors use in the text to evoke strong images. For example, introduce the class to the text Night in the Country by Cynthia Rylant. In this simple text, the author describes the sounds that someone might hear if they were awake during the night in a country setting. After an initial read of the text in shared reading fashion, go back to the text and begin a list of words, phrases or sentences that the author used to describe the night noises. If using sentences go back and underline the specific words that helped to evoke the image. After modeling with the first few pages, continue by having students locate more examples to contribute to the chart. The teacher can add the shared examples to the chart. A partially completed chart might look like the one below.

Descriptive Language from the Text Appeals to What Sense?
There is no night so dark, so black as night in the country. Sight
Great owls with marble eyes who swoop among the trees… Sight & hearing
Night frogs who sing songs for you every night: reek reek reek reek. Hearing
Outside, the dog’s chain clinks as he gets up for a drink of water. Hearing
…you hear someone open and close a creaking screen door. Hearing
…you may hear an apple fall from the tree in the back yard. Listen: Pump! Hearing
…rabbits will patter into your yard and eat pieces of your fallen apples. Hearing
…are the groans and thumps and squeaks that house make when they are trying, like you, to sleep. Hearing



Another text that involves multiple senses is the story Wild Child by Lynn Plourde. In this tale, Mother Earth is trying to put Autumn asleep but Autumn keeps asking for different things before falling asleep. Each of the things that Mother Earth does provides rich descriptive fall images. A chart like the one above could be employed. This text is on a second grade level so would be appropriate for on grade level or above grade level guided reading lessons. Again, use gradual release of responsibility to shift responsibility for completing the chart from the teacher to the students. Have students go back and underline specific words that evoke the images. Also discuss the author’s use of rhyming, alliteration, and made up words to enrich the descriptions. Your chart might look similar to the one below.

Descriptive Language from the Text Appeals to What Sense?
So Mother Earth gave her child a song…
Crinkle, crackle, leaves Snapple.
Chutter, chatter, chipmunks patter.
Flap, flitter, birds twitter.
Skitter, scatter, acorns splatter.
So Mother Earth gave her child a snack…
Crunchy, munchy, chewy chestnuts.
Plumpy, lumpy, pulpy pumpkins.
Snapperly, dapperly, cidery apples.
Puckery, smuckery, crimsony cranberries.
So Mother Earth gave her child PJs…
A fiery, flaming, reddish nightgown.
A brilliant, bursting, yellowish robe.
Two burnt, blistering, orangest slippers.
A tawny, tarnished, goldish nightcap.
So Mother Earth gave her child a kiss…
A whoosh, whirlishy, windswept snuggle.
A freezing, frizzling, frosty caress.
A gusty, blustery, twisty embrace.
A crystalish, icicle-ish, iceberg kiss.



Students may select a story or poem that they are writing and revise it with descriptive language that may appeal to the senses or feelings. Keep the charts visible as models and motivators for students as they improve their own writing.