Adding Details to Writing

Recently, I was facilitating a session on ‘digital writing’ using Google Docs and caught myself saying “just add details to writing“.  I wonder if our students understand what it means or even how to do this.  Does it just mean to find a number of adjectives in a thesaurus?  Sometimes this doesn’t help to make the writing any better.  What about the digital environment where writing communication is multimodal?  Is this simply another image inserted in the text?

When we ask students to “add details” we are asking them to be analytical, to create in essence, a 3-D experience for the audience to live.  Given this, I started to group ideas into possible mini lessons on “types of details” (all taught in 10 minute chunks).  This of course is nowhere near complete:

  • types of non-fiction details (quotes, charts, anecdotes, facts, expanding definitions)
  • types of description details (character, setting, objects – adjectives, similes, metaphors)
  • types of setting details (time sequence, smell, appearance)
  • types of character details (thinking, talking, feeling, moving)

Here’s an example of an anchor chart I scribbled to show developing details in the character.

How do you encourage students to “add details“?  What processes do you use to support students in moving forward in making their writing 3-D? Please leave a comment so we can expand our collective understandings.


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