Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Gripping Details

Shelley Mann
Santa Rosa District Schools


Students examine literature for examples of paragraphs that are developed with gripping details.


The student reads and organizes information (for example, in outlines, timelines, graphic organizers) throughout a single source for a variety of purposes (for example, discovering models for own writing, making a report, conducting interviews, taking a test, performing a task).

The student interacts with peers in a variety of situations to develop and present familiar ideas (for example, conversations, whole group interactions, discussions).

The student prepares for and gives presentations for specific occasions, audiences, and purposes (including but not limited to group discussions, informational or dramatic presentations).


-A science or social studies textbook
-Age-appropriate novels
-Overhead transparency of Grip-O-Meter (See Associated File)
-Copies of Grip-O-Meter for each student (See Associated File)
-Overhead projector


1. Select a passage to read from a science or social studies textbook.
2. Make an overhead transparency of the Grip-O-Meter. (See Associated File)
3. Prepare student copies of the Grip-O-Meter. (See Associated File)
4. Have available an age-appropriate novel for each student.


1. Teacher reads a passage from a science or social studies textbook.

2. Teacher asks students to recount details from the passage. Teacher records details on the overhead projector.

3. Teacher asks students for the relevance of the details. Teacher leads discussion on the necessity of details in a paragraph. (A paragraph tells a story, and without the details the story would not be complete.)

4. Teacher reads a paragraph from a novel that has a paragraph with particularly striking details.

5. Students recount details and teacher records these on the overhead.

6. Students compare and contrast the details from the textbook and novel. Teacher leads discussion to conclusion that literature includes details which “move” the reader and engage the reader in the story.

7. Using the Grip-O-Meter (See Associated File) teacher models completion of the worksheet with another passage from the selected novel. Class discusses what makes a detail gripping.

8. Students complete their worksheet with a novel from the classroom.

9. Class shares results.


Students pick three details to create a paragraph from the topic sentence, “As I entered the dark, drafty cellar, my spine began tingling.” Evaluation is based on relevance, development, and creativity in selection of details as well as the completeness of the paragraph with a concluding sentence.


This lesson could be presented around Halloween. Students create a class “Spooky Story” that is put together paragraph-by-paragraph with each student creating a paragraph with gripping details.

Attached Files

This file contains the Grip-O-Meter.      File Extension: pdf

Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.