Updated: Apr 8

An introduction to describing words.

Introduction to Adjectives

Adjectives are relatively simple. They are words that describe nouns. So, it's best if your child understands what nouns are before venturing into adjective territory.

Adjectives lend themselves well to isolated practice, but are best as a compliment to actual writing practice. They are typically introduced within the first three years of school, but since they are taught almost entirely in isolation, it often takes students many years to integrate them naturally into their writing.

Integrating an Isolated Concept

Write stories together. This isn't meant to be a writing assignment to get your reluctant writer to get some practice in. Be willing to write the story, so that your child can focus their energy on coming up with descriptive words. Together, take turns making up parts of a story. Then take turns asking the other questions to probe for a descriptions. Questions like, "how big was the monster?" What color was the monster?" It need not be long, or complex. Just a simple story with a beginning, middle and end.

Once upon a time, there was a __________.

What color? How big? How does it smell? Did they have short hair? etc.

The next line of the story tells what the character does.

The next line is a result.

Then a simple conclusion.

For example: Once upon a time, there was a green frog.

The frog was hungry.

The frog ate a big smelly black fly.

Then, he belched.

The end.

See? The story can be so simple, and silly, and really, should be a fun few minutes for the both of you.

Books About Adjectives

(...probably more books on adjectives than you'll every really need)

Hairy, Scary, and Ordinary: What is an Adjective, by Brian Cleary

Quirky, Jerky, Extra Perky: More About Adjectives, by Brian Cleary

Many Luscious Lollipops: A Book About Adjectives, by Ruth Heller

If You Were an Adjective, by Michael Dahl

Videos About Adjectives


How many adjectives can your child find? Listen to the stories below and find out!

Above: My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother read by Melissa Gilbert

Above: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day






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