Snapshot Sentences

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Instructional Strategies
Background: Authors make pictures with words. Sentences that include sensory details that help a reader visualize ideas are called Snapshot Sentences.

Procedures: After reading an informational selection that contains descriptive details specifically written to evoke images, have students collect Snapshot Sentences. Analyze the sentences for sensory details and figurative language such as similes and metaphors.

Example: Excerpt from Thermals and Updrafts:
“Imagine being able to float in the sky, circling higher and higher, into the clouds, held up by nothing more than a soft breeze of rising air. That's what flying animals, from hawks to monarch butterflies, do every day. How do they catch a "breeze" going UP? And how does a breeze going straight up help them to migrate ACROSS the continent?

1. Invite students to write snapshot sentences and paragraphs using descriptive details/language collected from reading a variety of selections on a topic.
2. Collect snapshot sentences from many genres of writing. Ask students to classify the sentences based on similarities and differences.
3. Invite students to add/insert snapshot sentences into expository texts to include ideas that help readers visualize the author’s ideas.
4. Take students outdoors for a “Snapshot Sit.” Have students bring a notebook and pencil outside to collect sensory details: What do you see? What do you hear? How does the air feel? What smells does your nose detect? Using the details they collect, students write snapshot sentences, paragraphs, or poems that describe their “field observations.”

Reading Strategies: Identify Main Ideas and Support Details, Visualize Ideas Described in the Text, Synthesize Ideas, Summarize Information, Make Inferences and Draw Conclusions