ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Teaching Language to Your Children - Describing

Updated on May 18, 2015

Fun Teaching Methods

Why is 'describing' fun and so important to your child's language development? The answer is simple: the effectiveness of narration and description depends very largely on a child's previous knowledge and on the way in which the new knowledge is connected with it, and if you put a little effort into how you engage with your child, you will find your child will learn and have fun while doing it.

What exactly are we doing when we are describing something?

When we describe something to someone we try to paint a word-picture of how something or someone feels, looks, sounds, tastes or moves. We do this by recalling the key features or characteristics of the event, object or feeling. So the process of describing uses language to convey an idea or image of an object, event, or the properties of objects or events being described, from one person to a second person, in such a way that the second person can recognise what is being described. When you're describing something to a child, you are effectively communicating and teaching how to communicate at the same time.

What is the purpose of using this teaching method?

The purpose of using description as a teaching technique is to help children to see increasingly finer and more complex distinctions between events, people and things in their daily world. Good descriptions help children to expand their understandings of the world. Good descriptions draw children's attention to the features, properties or characteristics of events, people and things that they may not have noticed or that they themselves may lack the language to describe.

How to make describing effective

You can increase the effectiveness of your descriptive powers with young children by:

  • ensuring that they are familiar with what is to be described.
  • thinking about the key features to be described.
  • trying not to describe every single feature or property of something. You need to focus on the main characteristics of what you are describing and not overwhelm children with extra detail as they can get confused.
  • thinking about what is unique or specific to what you are describing to help children recognise what is being described.
  • using language as clearly and precisely as possible and using terms that your audience understands.
  • being prepared to rephrase if children don't understand. Children will lose focus if the meaning of the description is lost.
  • checking with children that they have understood the description by asking them questions.
  • remembering that children will see things differently, depending on their personal experiences
  • ensuring that description is used as part of conversations in which children have a chance to interact with and respond to adults.

How is children's language development helped by using this teaching method?

Describing something to children only begins their process of understanding it. Description on its own will hardly be sufficient to create total understanding of an event or person so this teaching technique works best if supplemented by opportunities for children to explore in a practical and concrete way the things being described.

As a teaching technique, description can be used to:

  • heighten children's awareness of the characteristics of particular things and help them develop competence in using descriptive language.
  • help children become more specific and precise in using descriptive language.
  • extend children's vocabulary.
  • enable children to share their knowledge and understandings with others.
  • build children's listening skills.

Tips for teaching children language

Use descriptive words and phrases in language games, sentence building games, during creativemovement sessions, guessing games and ball games. Children will gain vocabulary as well as practical knowledge how to apply new words and how to describe them.

Remember, repetition and engagement are key in teaching children language.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      5 years ago from sunny Florida

      Immersing children in speaking and reading builds those experiences that enable children to become effective communicators.

      Thanks for sharing.

      Sending Angels to you today :) ps

    • The Unlearner profile image


      5 years ago from Isle of Wight UK

      I don't think we as adults should shy away from using long descriptive words. I love teaching my children new descriptive words, and often ask them how something feels as to assist them in trying to describe an emotion, colour or sensory image. I think poetry is a great tool to use in this respect, because good poetry can paint words quite literally in a childs mind. Great hub and an enjoyable read.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)