Narrative Writing
Lesson plans and other teaching resources

10 Ways to Tell a Story
An explanation of 10 different narrative viewpoints with examples.

Action Chains
Students learn to elaborate on an event in a narrative by expanding their sentences into action chains. Expanding single actions into an action chain provides the reader with a more detailed picture of an event in a narrative. This lesson is designed for grades 3-5.

Active Beginnings
This 3-page printable handout focuses on crafting strong leads. It is designed for elementary students and requires Adobe Reader or compatible application.

Animal Legends: Integrating Art with Writing
Students use their own artwork as a story starter for a pourquoi tale or legend. Designed for grades 3-5.

Constructing Narratives: A Unit Plan for Taking Apart and Reconstructing Stories
This lesson is designed as a project-based unit plan that will take students through the narrative process from deconstruction to construction. After initial discussion, students will use an interactive story map to deconstruct a short story. Students will use pictures to put together a PowerPoint-based storyboard that other students will use to construct a story. This unit is designed for grades 6-8.

From Object to Story: Writing a Historical Narrative Featuring an Artifact from One's Family History
Students share observations about the history of familial artifacts. They then research the history and cultural significance of selected objects to prepare their own historical narratives. Includes short reading as prewriting activity. Designed for grades 7-12.

Getting Hooked: Introduction for a Narrative
Students will be able to identify techniques for writing an introduction for a narrative and use them effectively. This lesson is designed for grades 2-4.

Hands, Hands, Hands - Writing a Narrative Essay from the Perspective of a Particular Hand
The teacher will show pictures of six hands to students (pictures included with other handouts). After a brainstorming session, students will choose one hand that illustrates a particular story from their life. Then students will write a two page narrative essay about this story. These stories will be posted on a class blog to allow for feedback and discussion from classmates. Designed for grades 7-10.

In Search Of Wisdom: An Interview With An Elder
Students develop interview questions, interview someone aged 60 or older, and write a narrative using that person's voice. Designed for grades 6-12.

Incorporating Flashbacks in Narrative Text — The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis
Students watch a 2:25 video segment that shows an interview with one of the survivors of the U.S.S. Indianapolis who recalls the sinking of the ship and his survival. Students then create an original narrative that utilizes flashback to tell the survivor's story. This lesson is designed for grades 8-10 and includes links to the downloadable video and all support materials.

Little Red Riding Hood
Little Red Riding Hood is now part of an elite group of fairy tale crime scene investigators. You remember Humpty Dumpty? He didn't fall. He was pushed. Or so it seemed at first. This idea will work on multiple grade levels.

Make Kids' Writing Shine: Using Beginnings and Endings to Teach Craft
Strategies to build elementary writing skills. Scroll down for revision and assessment ideas, resources.

Meet Comic Book Artist Phil Jimenez
This video (4:34) presents writer and comic book artist Phil Jimenez, who has worked for DC and Marvel Comics. Jimenez describes his early inspiration, gives tips for good storytelling, and discusses the unique way comics approach sequential narrative. Links at the site include a student assignment handout to review Jimenez's advice, an assignment on making a visual story about an "everyday adventure," and a teacher handout for reflection prompts and discussion questions about visual storytelling that focus on Common Core State Standards for Writing: Text Types and Purposes, for students in grades 6, 7, and 8.

Memory Preservation--One Relative at a Time
After organizing and conducting an interview of a grandparent/senior citizen, students create a slideshow presentation using the information and memorabilia collected at the interview. This lesson plan includes rubric and model. It is designed for 8th grade.

Narrative, Argumentative and Informative Writing About Baseball
Students compose a one- or two-paragraph scene in which a valuable signed baseball is destroyed. The narrative task is the first of four prompts here. Common Core Standards indicated. Don't miss the extension activity, a video of Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?" Grades 6-12.

Narrative Writing & Reading Core Skills Lesson Plan
Creating a story is like magic! Grab your magician's hat and wand for this activity. Teach core curriculum concepts of narrative writing (story creation) through the use of characters, setting, and plot. Also teaches skills needed to meet language arts reading and writing core curriculum standards that require the ability to describe characters, settings, and major events in a story. Designed for elementary students.

Nibble, Nibble, Little Mouse
Students in grades 6-8 explore the implications of point of view in literature and write a narrative, retelling a traditional story from a different character's point of view.

A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words
Students are given a picture that tells a story. They brainstorm words and ideas, then write a story based on what they see. This lesson is designed for grades 6-8.

Note: more ideas for teaching the personal narrative can be found on the Biography page.

Prewriting Exercises for Personal Narratives
Ten activities for personal narrative writing, grades 7-12.

Savvy Story Structure
Students learn to actively engage in reading by becoming more familiar with the elements of a story. Students will be required to think at a higher level and will enhance their understanding of selected passages and stories. Students should also begin to relate stories to their own lives. Designed for grades 3-5.

Ten Narrative Writing Prompts
These prompts are designed for high school and college students, but it might be possible to modify some of them for younger students.

Using Music to Teach Personal Narrative
Students use songs like "Snapshots" and "Crossing the Border" to reflect on their own experience. Designed for 9th grade. From the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Using Personal Photographs to Spark Narrative Writing
The lesson plan asks students to bring in a photograph that has special meaning for them and to write about it. This will work on multiple grade levels.

Using Pictures to Teach Narrative Writing with Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Students respond to pictures depicting segregation. They write a story from the point of view of someone in the picture.

Writing to Photography/Photography to Writing
A teacher designed this project with two goals in mind: (1) to improve students' writing by incorporating photography into descriptive and narrative writing exercises designed to inspire more varied and creative perspectives, and (2) to enhance visual as well as verbal literacy. Designed for higher education, will work in high school.



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