Imagery adds vivid, sensory details that enliven text. Various literary devices such as similes, metaphors, and personification incorporate imagery. Authors use imagery to create concrete examples out of abstract ideas. Teaching imagery with a mentor text allows students to see examples of this technique in action.
Students discuss how a book without illustrations can paint a picture of how we see the story in our mind. We examine words that appeal to our senses in books we have read in the past. I present my Imagery Flip Chart to discuss some background information about sensory images and how they enhance writing. To aide in this process, I use a Sensory Imaging Graphic Organizer as we select different objects to describe using our five senses. We use words from a sensory work list to complete this organizer.
I show a video of William Wordsworth's poem Daffodils. I chose this poem because it is full of visual imagery. We discuss how the video and poem appeal to our senses. Students plot out the words that they consider sensually appealing on their graphic organizer.
I model writing that incorporates imagery so students can see another concrete example. I use a Visual Imagery graphic organizer to plot my samples of imagery. I show students how to plot ideas on the organizer to keep their writing on target. After reviewing the organizer, we discuss the final writing. After the discussion, I inform students that they will create their own writing, similar to the one I modeled, but on a topic of their choosing.
Students work in pairs using a Visual Imagery graphic organizer to learn how to use more descriptive words in their writing. We use the Vivid Sensory Adjectives Word List and Sensory Word List for choosing descriptive sensory words to describe a chosen object. I ask students to describe an object to their partners using the word list and see if their partner can guess the object by its description. This activity allows students to practice using visual imagery in fun engaging ways.
Students discuss how they will apply what they learned in their writing. This is the foundational skill necessary to master prior to scaffolding to its application in essays. Students need to continue to be exposed to sensory words until it becomes second nature. I like to use visual cues such as the visual imagery organizer and practice using descriptive words to identify objects in fun game activities.