To begin this lesson, we discussed the terms “sensory details” and “dialogue”. Most students remembered that dialogue is the conversation that characters are having and is indicated by the use of quotation marks.
Students were not familiar with the term “sensory details” so I prompted them by asking what words do you think of when you hear the word “sensory”. We were able to continue from there because “senses” were mentioned. Therefore, I explained that “sensory details” are those details in a story that appeal to the fives senses – seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling.
I explained that writers often use these two elements to improve their writing and encourage readers to become involved in the text.
Next, as a class we spoke about the need to read texts closely, become involved in the written piece, and read more than once. One way is to mark the text. In a previous lesson, I had handed out Marking the Text which students have been using in my class and social studies – these are glued in their notebooks for easy reference.
Today, I passed out a short text, “Watch out for Your Little Sister Text” in which I guided the class through a close reading activity. This text focused upon sensory details and dialogue. In the right margin are specific elements that the students searched and highlighted. A marked up version: Watch Out For Your Little Sister is also included.
The first step in reading in my class is to number the paragraphs. When students are discussing parts of the story, by identifying the specific paragraph, the rest of the class can easily locate the textual evidence being spoken about.
As you can see, the text is chunked. Instead of reading the complete text, as a class we read it in chunks. After reading the chunk aloud, we followed the directions in the right-hand margin. Referring to the sensory details, I asked students to mark their impression of the sister and the friend in the left-hand margin.
We continued using the same procedure for the next two chunks.
After reading the complete text, the class discussed any personal connections that could be made to this text.
Students responded to the question at the bottom of the page, “Explain why stylistic element(s) most affected this narrative.”
I reminded them that the question says “explain”. This does not just mean list, so it is important that they include textual evidence and reasons.