Weather description is one of the easiest ways for young writers (6 to 8 years old) to begin their compositions. This is also usually the first story starter that they are being taught in school.
For children who are weak in the language, writing a good weather description can be an easy and effective way to get them started in their composition.
However, most teachers do not encourage flowery weather descriptions such as these:
“White fluffy clouds dotted the azure blue sky as the sun beamed beatifically, casting a golden glow upon the earth.”
“The sky was an expanse of sapphire blue, dotted with feathery white clouds as the radiant rays of the sun shone brightly in the azure blue sky.”
You get the picture.
Proper Use of Weather Descriptions in English Compositions
Weather descriptions is an easy way for young writers to begin their stories. Primary 1 and 2 students can start their compositions with weather descriptions, if weather plays a part in the plot.
There is no need to memorise a hugh chunk of bombastic weather descriptions.
Simple words can sometimes be more effective than bombastic ones.
These are some of the weather descriptions written by our P1 and P2 students:
“It was a cool and breezy evening. A strong gust of wind blew against my face.”
“It was a bright and sunny morning. White, fluffy clouds drifted across the sky.”
“Lightning flashed across the sky. A storm was coming.”
Short. Simple. Readable.
The kids came up with these weather descriptions themselves, without memorising any bombastic phrases.
Most importantly, they are natural, something which children can understand, remember and apply in their writing.
Get this set of PSLE Model Compositions with writing techniques highlighted.
So, how can children be taught to write weather descriptions?
For children who are really weak in the language, even writing a simple sentence to describe a sunny day can be difficult. These children often resort to starting their compositions with “One day, we went…” or “One fine day, Peter was …” or “Last Sunday, my family and I …”.
Such story beginnings can be boring and not captivating.
Students can learn to write effective weather descriptions. In our classes, we get our students to do brainstorming.
1. Brainstorm and make a list of all kinds of weather that you can think of.
- cold and rainy
- cool and breezy
- bright and sunny
- scorching hot
2. For each weather type, imagine how the sky, sun, clouds and other weather elements look like.
Describe each element in simple, readable English.
Weather Type: BRIGHT AND SUNNY
Describe the sun:
– shines brilliantly
– like a fire ball
Describe the sky:
– clear, blue sky
Describe the clouds:
– white, fluffy clouds
– sunlit clouds
3. Form sentences using some of these descriptions.
It was a bright and sunny day. The sun shone brilliantly in the clear, blue sky.
It was a bright and sunny day. White, fluffy clouds drifted across the clear, blue sky.
The above 3 steps are effective in teaching young children (Primary 1 to 3) to come up with weather descriptions that sound natural. Most children are able to come up with beautiful weather descriptions without resorting to the method of memorising huge chunks of unreadable flowery language.
Use Weather Descriptions Appropriately
Some students have the habit of starting every composition with weather descriptions, regardless of topic or setting. Remember to use weather descriptions only if weather plays a part in your story. For example, if a rainy weather contributes to the plot of the story, it is a good idea to describe the weather, especially the rain and the coldness. If a story is set outdoors, it is fine to describe the weather too.
However, many students fell into the trap of starting their compositions with describing the sun, the clouds and the sky when their story is set indoors! This is a huge mistake, which should be stopped.
Other Types of Story Beginnings
For stories which are not set outdoors or not affected by the weather, there are other types of story beginnings that can be used.
Students can begin their compositions with speech, which is also a common way of beginning a primary school composition.
Another effective way is to begin with a captivating statement or an intriguing question. Such a beginning hooks readers immediately to read on. When used correctly, it piques a reader’s curiosity and make them want to continue reading to find out what happens next.
Upper primary students can begin their stories with character descriptions. This is useful to show a change in the character at the end of the story. For example, a timid person who became courageous, or a bully regretting his actions and turning over a new leaf.
Beginning with an action is great if you want to move the story along quickly. Students can use suitable vivid verbs to clearly describe a character’s actions at the beginning of the story.
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