World Book Day: Writing with Sensory Details

World Book Day - Writing with Sensory Details

World Book Day (Thursday 7th March) gives us a great opportunity to get pupils enthused about reading and writing. As well as talking about the books we love and why we love them, it gives pupils the chance to unleash their inner writer. Using sensory details in writing helps to bring our stories to life. It adds an extra depth to our stories and makes it much easier for the reader to picture the characters and scenes that you create. Take a look at our fun activities to help your pupils add extra sparkle to their stories below.

Developing Characters Using Sensory Details

Using sensory details to develop character is great for adding depth and making your characters easy to relate to for the reader. Close your eyes and imagine your character is standing in front of you. One at a time, think about the following questions and jot down a few words in answer to each one:

  • What does your character look like? What colour is their hair/eyes? How tall are they? What build are they? Do they have any distinguishing features? Are they wearing something special?
  • What does your character sound like? Do they have a loud voice or speak in whispers? Is their voice deep or squeaky? Are there any other sounds that you would associate with them?
  • What does your character smell like? Can you smell perfume or washing powder? Are they eating something that you can smell?
  • What textures would you associate with your character? Is their hair smooth or curly? What about their clothes?
  • If your character was food, what food would they be? Why? Once you have written down lots of notes about your character, you can create a character profile like the one below. Draw a quick picture of your character in the middle then add all the words that you’ve written down around them.
Writing with Sensory Details

Developing Place with Sensory Details

We’re now going to do something similar with a location from your story. Close your eyes and imagine you are standing in the middle of your scene. Think about the following questions, then jot down your answers. If you like, you can put these into a table like in the image below.

  • What can you see? Are there any distinctive colours or shapes? Can you see the sky? Are there any other people or animals?
  • What can you smell? Is there a special smell associated with this place? Can you smell food? Or, is there a bad smell?
  • What can you hear? Can you hear other people? What noises are specific to your location? Are there loud noises and quieter background noises?
  • What can you taste? Are you eating something special?
  • What can you feel? What textures can you feel against your skin? What is the floor made of? Is there a breeze? Is there any fabric or wall-paper that you can touch?
Writing with Sensory Details

Building Your Story

You can use the sensory details that you have gathered to create a vivid picture in your story. Write a scene set in your location and use the words you have noted down to describe the place as your character moves through it. It is these small details that will bring your story to life. In your scene, try to answer the following questions:

  • Why is your character there?
  • How do they feel?
  • Why do they feel this?
  • Can you add at least five details from your character study into your story?
  • What happens to them in this place?
  • Can you add at least eight details from your location study into your story?
  • How does this scene fit into the rest of your story?

We hope your pupils enjoy using these activities to develop their stories, and that you have a wonderful World Book Day.

Did you know that PTS has brilliant World Book Day Stickers that you can personalise for your school? Take a look here.

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