How to teach narrative writing

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How to teach narrative writing

Teaching Narrative Writing with Picture Books

Like anything else you want your students to learn in the classroom, you must teach your students how to write a narrative essay. The purpose of a narrative essay is to move an event through time. Choose One Event If a student chooses to write about their family vacation to Disney World, tell them to pick their one favorite moment during the trip.

Many times students will want to describe an entire day, starting with what they ate for breakfast and ending with dinner that evening.

When teaching them how to write a narrative essay, make sure they know their story should have a clear beginning, middle, and end.

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Plan As with any other writing assignment, students should have a plan for how to write their narrative essay. Since they are moving an event through time, they need to figure out what happens when and they should complete a pre-write to do this successfully.

Beginning, Middle, and End Stories should have a beginning, middle, and end. Students should determine how the story begins, what happens in the middle where the bulk of the action will take place and how the story ends. How to Move an Event Through Time One way to move an event through time is by choosing words that reflect this movement.

Some words that show movement through time are meanwhile, before, after, during, and suddenly. There are many more. Students should choose the ones that make the most sense for their story. Students frequently make the mistake of rushing through this integral part of the story.

They should do just the opposite.

How to teach narrative writing

This part needs to be slowed down as much as possible in order to build suspense. Students slow down their big moments by using sensory detail to describe what is happening. You would only do this if students continually use only one or two sentences in their big moments and you would stop this requirement as soon as students became successful with the concept.

Resolution Stories need endings. Students should resolve their endings and wrap up any loose ends. There is no need to leave their readers wondering what happens next. Use Dialogue Students should feel free to use dialogue in their stories.

Done correctly; dialogue can really bump their stories up to the next level.

A Note About Form: Personal Narrative or Short Story?

If they do so, there is no reason they have to tell the story exactly like it happened. This is a time when they not only can, but should, embellish the facts in order to make their stories more interesting. As always, the more you model what you expect from your students, the more successful they will be.

Keep this in mind as you are teaching them how to write a narrative essay and you will be wonderfully surprised at the entertaining stories your students create.Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing Elementary Series Bundle, Grades K-5 A Workshop Curriculum. I believe the easiest style of writing to teach is narrative writing.

Narrative writing is storytelling from a personal perspective. Kids can choose an event from real life to relate to their audience. Narrative Writing is winner of the Richard Meade Award, given by the National Council of Teacher's of English.

George Hillocks, Jr. is a master teacher who has had great success working with kids in the Chicago Public Schools for over thirty years.


It's bad writing. It's always been bad writing. With the Common Core Standards designed to shift the way we teach students to think, read, and write, this outdated writing tradition must end.

If. In this lesson, we will examine various types of narrative techniques in writing, as well as examples of the literary techniques relevant to style. Meanwhile, we’re still teaching students the craft of narrative writing.

A Note About Process: Write With Your Students One of the most powerful techniques I used as a writing teacher was to do my students’ writing assignments with them.

Teaching Strategies: Narrative Writing for Elementary Kids