Build up your students’ ability to use quality personality adjectives and you will improve their narrative writing skills.

Here are five highly effective ways to do that.

1. Make sure your students understand the important role that adjectives play.

Adjectives give the reader the information they need to visualize what they are reading. Personality adjectives give the reader the vital information they need to visualize the characters.

2. Explore how seemingly similar adjectives can be used to create very different characters.

For example, “the happy girl” is altered dramatically if we use blissful, ecstatic, intoxicated, merry, sparkling, sunny, cheerful, contented or jolly instead. Although each word tells us that the girl is happy it also alludes to a distinctly different history, experience and mood.

3. Unearth the words that your students already know.

Brainstorm examples. Open class discussions and group brainstorming activities help your students to remember the personality adjectives they already know but don’t regularly use. Given the opportunity to “remember” and discuss familiar adjectives students are more likely to use them in future writing tasks.

4. Give your students lists of adjectives that they can use as a writing resource.

These can be simple groupings of similar adjectives or larger personality adjective lists. A photocopied sheet glued into their workbook can be used each time the students are asked to write. They can even be challenged to use 1 or two adjectives from the list each time they complete a story.

5. Let your students play with personality adjectives.

Before you ask your students to use adjectives in a narrative let them play with them. This can include familiar and introduced adjectives. Allowing your students to engage in activities that involve comparing, contrasting, grouping, illustrating, searching and discussing adjectives will increase their understanding of the meaning of the words and their ability to confidently use them.

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