The past two blogs have focused on working with students on narrative writing. www.writenow-rightnow.com/blog/2017/lets-write-a-story-part-one and www.writenow-rightnow.com/blog/2017/lets-write-a-story-part-2 Students are now ready to compose their events. It is typical for young writers to simply list the events on their plan. For example: We built a fire to scare the bear, but he simply cuddles up next to it and took a nap. Next we tried banging pots to scare him away, but he put his paws over his ears. Instead of painting a picture for the reader, students put the events in the form of a list.
Prior to writing the events of a story, practice writing details through the use of wordless books. A wordless book tells a story only using pictures. The Red Sled, by Lita Judge, is a student favorite. www.barnesandnoble.com/w/red-sled-lita-judge/1100163318 Show students a single illustration from the book. Students will now write this portion of the story using words. As a group brainstorm vocabulary that might be found in the book. Only show one picture at a time, having students focus on writing 2-3 sentences which tell what is happening on that page. Students love sharing their writings and this will encourage each other’s descriptive writing.
Returning to their own narratives, students now have practice including details when writing their events. To help encourage detailed writing, students should write each event on a separate sheet of paper. This allows room to edit and expand the writing as needed. Continually ask students to share their writing, listening to one another’s details and word choice. Students will have 3 attempts to solve the story’s problem – two unsuccessful attempts and a final attempt that solves the problem.
The final solution and its success is not the end of the story. A story does not merely end when the problem is solved. The narrative requires a resolution – which requires two components. The first component is a recounting of how the main character is feeling. The second component is what the character has learned. What did the characters take away from the bear experience?
As they shared their writing with peers, the students were proud of their hard work and their focused, entertaining stories. They were eager to write a second narrative. They had accomplished what all writers desire – a story that was engaging for both the author and the reader.
We’d love to hear about your experiences writing narratives with students. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share experiences or visit our website writenow-rightnow.com to read past blog posts and newsletters.
You can find complete lesson plans for writing narratives in the Write Now - Right Now Writing Curriculum.