Good authors revise their writing.  In their revisions, they show the readers what is happening rather than simply telling the reader what is happening.  A strong "show, not tell" can make a story sparkle and snag the readers' attention.

Check out some "show, not tell" sentence revisions we made in small groups.

Once again, we love to hear what our audience thinks, so leave your comments by clicking on the link above.

The broken car sat along the side of the road.
*The smoking, smashed car lay in a ditch.
*The broken, rusted car sat in a pile of smoke and glass.

The day was very hot.
*The children noticed heat lines rising off the horizon as they played with their house in the blinding sun.
*The scorching sun made everyone outside melt into a puddle of sweat.

The trip to the amusement park was fun.
*On the way to the amusement park, the kids could feel the excitement buzzing inside them.
*The roaring rollercoasters sped through the thick air as everybody joyfully screamed.

The classroom was a mess.
*The classroom looked like the students learned in a dumpster.
*The messy classroom had papers randomly flung about, and desks were flipped over with their insides pouring out.

The movie was awesome.
*I was on the edge of my seat from the commercials to the credits.

The mall was crowded and busy.
*The mall was so crammed; it felt like 50 people trying to fit into one clown car.


In readers' workshop, we've been learning about inferences.  We discussed how we need to infer in everyday life to understand how our friends are feeling and to deteremine if somebody is joking or serious.  We also practiced making inferences while reading so that we understand what the author is really saying.

What is an inference?  An inference is using the clues the author (or actor or friend) is giving you to uncover the hidden message.  Good authors ask their readers to infer; if the author directly told us everything, we'd be so bored.  However, writing a paragraph that asks the reader to infer can be really hard. 

We tried our hand at writing inference paragraphs.  Check out these samples below.  They were written by members of our class.  If you can infer when, who, where, why, or what is happening in the paragraph, leave your ideas by clicking the comment link right above this post.  Authors love to hear from their audience, so we'd appreciate your kind feedback!

Paragraph 1
I was over 5,000 feet in the air.  I jumped and felt the cold wind rush across my face.  I looked down and saw that the small dots were getting bigger and bigger.  I pulled a string and felt a jolt.  Everything slowed down. 
-- CS

Paragraph 2
3-2 count, bases loaded, bottom of the ninth—game 7 of the World Series.  Ryan Howard’s up.  Here’s the pitch.  It’s a curveball breaking in.  He starts to swing, but stops.  Thump!  That hurt, but it was worth it.

Paragraph 3
I was watching.  Watching the fans go wild for their competitor.  Whether it was “the man in the shades” or the bolt,” everyone had a favorite.  All different colors of people, and all different kinds of people watched the runners at the “Bird’s Nest.”

Paragraph 4
It’s like a small zoo in there.  There are feathers and dander flying everywhere.  The noises and sights of water going through the pipes, birds chatting, tortoises, fish, and people talking, the little waterfalls, the ponds with the most beautiful koi, and the hamster wheels squealing surround you.  If you are quiet, you can occasionally hear the song of a bell and canary doing their thing.

Paragraph 5
I was high—higher than the house.  My friends were cheering me on.  “Don’t look down,” one of them said.  I smelled the piney wood and went higher.  I had reached the top.