Punctuation practice: Descriptive texts

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By Eileen Joneseducation journalist, author and literacy specialist

Encourage children to develop their own punctuation style with these meaningful activities

Illustrated safari park

Descriptive texts provide detail and, consequently, are wordier and likely to contain a wider range of punctuation. So, in the final article of this series, the range of marks to be used is extended to demonstrate how they can work together, provide space for detail, convey mood and make subtle connections. As the range of marks increases, so does the writer’s choice. Hence, last month’s message (in the September ‘09 issue) is reinforced: punctuation rules can be flexible and the writer does have opportunities to demonstrate a personal punctuation style. With this in mind and using the stimulating safari park context, children will find placing punctuation marks to be meaningful and exciting. Don’t forget, the Interactive resource, ‘Animal punctuation: Descriptive texts’ (subscribers only), Poster, ‘Punctuation Safari Park’ and Activity sheets, ‘Punctuation practice: Descriptive texts’ are all available to download.


  1. Descriptive sentences
  2. Adding descriptive detail
  3. Pause for commas
  4. Punctuation choice
  5. Further ideas
  6. Top tips

1. Descriptive sentences

Draw attention to the Poster, ‘Punctuation Safari Park’ and get the children started on practising descriptive sentences. Demonstrate with this oral sentence: There is a shy ostrich ignoring everyone. Put the children into pairs, and invite each partner to make an oral observation about the safari park scene. Suggest that they repeat it. Their partner should then form a mental picture of the punctuated sentence and write on their individual whiteboard the sentence-ending mark they ‘hear’. Compare the results. Ask: Which mark is the most common answer? (Probably a full stop.) Does it reflect the purpose of the descriptions?

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