Writing Tips - Detail Sentences

Okay, so what's expository writing without a lil' bit of details? In my last post, I talked about writing a topic sentence and using the main idea question as a guide.

As a side note, I firmly believe that using informational texts as mentor texts/good writing samples is the best way to show students how a piece of expository writing should sound.  So when it's time to write details, the first step is figuring out what information a detail sentence is supposed to give you.

I also like them to figure that out for themselves. 
Here's what I do:

1. Pull a batch of informational texts and have students *find* detail sentences in the books. 
2. Students write down two-three detail sentences from some books that I've pulled.
3. After a few minutes, we share the detail sentences and discuss any similarities.
4. We then create categories for detail sentences based on the similarities.

What we find is this: Many detail sentences give the same kind of information.  Some give number details, others give size or color information.

5. The last step is for partners to go back into the books and find one detail sentence for each category.  They write the sentences on yellow sentence strips.
6. We post the sentences onto the chart.

Note: Please don't judge the chart. :) It's an oldie. And I'm so not an artist.

 You can see they were able to find some great detail sentences for the chart

Most of the books I pull are animal books.  I do this because our vehicle for teaching expository writing is our animal report project. 

Hope you can use this idea! I know it really has helped my kids use meaningful details in their writing.  It also helps narrow their topic so they stay on topic!

Happy weekend, friends!!


  1. LOVE reading your posts about writing! I always learn so much from you!!! :) Hope you're having a great weekend!!!!!!

  2. Great idea!! Thank you!!! :)

    Smiles from 2nd Grade

  3. Absolutely LOVE this activity.

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