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Narrative Writing

Narrative writing in the primary grades might include events that occurred in the student's personal life or when writing about others' lives. 

The youngest primary students can use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events.  Students should gradually move to recounting two or more appropriately sequenced events. 

Parents can encourage students to tell what happened by using words which relate to passage of time, and words to signal event order: first, second, later, now, next, once, then, etc.

Primary writers can include characters: siblings, parents, or classmates. They should be encouraged to write titles for their work.

First graders should be ending their narrative with a sense of closure. This can be taught through discussion of a box, which has a lid, contents, and a bottom.  The top of the box, labeled with the contents, symbolizes the topic sentence of a paragraph; the bottom of the box is the the closure, what holds the contents inside.  

An excellent way to illustrate a paragraph being on one topic is to discuss how funny it would be go to the store, buy a box of cookies and find a banana inside!  Explain to young narrative writers that if the topic of the paragraph is "cookies," there should be no bananas in that paragraph.

By second and third grade:

  • Students can share experiences of an elaborate event or short sequence of events. 
  • Situations can be real or imaginary.
  • Descriptions can include actions, thoughts, and feelings.
  • Use of a narrator, characters, and dialogue. 

The writer should be comfortable using all of the above features by the end of third grade.