Lucy and the Dragon Lady

story by Kate Shelley Gilbert , illustrated by Aśka

Learning Intention:

I am learning about the importance of imagery in narratives so that I can make my writing more detailed and engaging to my readers.


Success Criteria:

  • I can discuss the way imagery in writing helps us visualise the setting of a story
  • I can compose my own setting description using imagery.



Essential knowledge:

To ensure students understand how to identify and use imagery in texts, watch the English Textual Concepts video Imagery.



Understanding text:

After reading the text, ask student to close their eyes to help them visualise, then reread the second paragraph aloud:

‘The way to the beach from Lucy’s house was long and difficult: under trees with trippy, twisty roots, across gigantic gutters and patchy potholes, down a hill of sharp and slippery stones, onto grass where sticky seeds and roo poo hid, between posts dusty with dirt and chunky chains, up the sparkly sandhill where a bonfire flared at night, and over shifting sand to the rollicking waves.’

Discuss the way this imagery helps readers imagine what the walk from Lucy’s house to the beach looked and felt like. If circumstances allow, take the students for a walk through the school to a certain point (e.g. the library) and ask them to pay attention to how they would describe things along the way, such as the trees and the ground. When you return to class, write a collaborative description on the board based on student suggestions. For example:


The way to the library from our classroom was short but hazardous: along a winding path of cracked asphalt lined with patches of overgrown grass, past a sunny corner of the walkway where ants can be seen carrying crumbs from what’s left of children’s hastily eaten lunches back to their sandy mound, through a garden area with squelchy dirt and sharp sticks and down a small set of stairs that always seem to be dangerously slippery in the rain and strangely sticky in the heat.

Creating text:

Inform students that they are going to write their own description. Ask them to think of a route they are familiar with between two points (e.g. from school to the shops, from their home to the park) and consider how they would describe it to someone. Have them close their eyes and visualise any points of interest or obstacles along the way to include in their description. Advise students to create a list of dot points or a mind map to organise their ideas first.

To assist this process, it may be easier for students to record their description of the trip first using their dot points or mind map. Oral rehearsal aids significantly in the writing process. Allow time for children to record the description of a route they are describing. Once children are happy with their recorded description, allow them time to listen, pause, write, small sound bites of their recorded description. Repeat this process until the entire oral recording is transposed onto paper.


Assessment for/as learning:


To reflect on how successful their description is, children need to work in pairs or small groups of 3. Each student needs to be provided with sketching materials such as paper and pencil.

Students will slowly read aloud their description, line by line, allowing time for their partners to sketch what they are hearing.

Each group member will have time provided to them to participate in both roles, author and illustrator.

Upon completion students will self-reflect using the following questions:

  • I used at least two of the five senses to help describe the setting.
  • I used similes to help paint a clear image in my partner’s mind.
  • I used dependent clauses in my writing to add more description.
  • I used personification in my writing to make the image more memorable.