Are you looking for ways to help your students write better personal narratives? If so, you’ll want to check out the following tips! These suggestions will help your second, third, fourth, or fifth-grade students produce well-written and engaging personal narratives.
1. Help your students understand what a personal narrative is. A personal narrative is a story about something that happened in the writer’s life. It is usually written in first-person point of view, which means that the writer uses “I” statements.
2. Encourage your students to brainstorm ideas for their personal narratives. What are some events that have happened in their lives that would make for a good story?
3. Once your students have brainstormed some ideas, help them choose one to write about. Encourage them to think about what kind of story they want to tell and what details they will need to include. At this point, you’ll want to teach your students to narrow their topics down from watermelon to seed!
4. Help your students plan their stories by having them map out the events in sequence. This will help them to remember all the details they want to include. Graphic organizers are always helpful for young students to be able to see the parts of their writing.
5. Encourage your students to use strong verbs and descriptive language in their writing. Personal narratives are all about painting a picture for the reader, so the more vivid the language, the better. For young students, teach them to add vivid descriptions that use their senses.
6. Finally, you’ll teach your students to proofread their work before they submit it. It is important to look back over the rubric and/or checklist.
As a teacher, when you are grading your students’ writing, choose what you will focus on. You don’t want to discourage young writers by correcting every grammatical error, every spelling mistake, every run on sentence, etc… Instead, focus on what you taught them and what is covered in the rubric. As the school year goes on, you can hold students accountable for more and more grammar.
I hope you found these tips helpful and that you will be able to use them in your classroom. If you’re looking for a complete unit on personal narrative writing, look no further! I’ve created a unit that walks students through each step of the process, from brainstorming topics to proofreading their work.
Grab the unit for your grade level here!
Learn why I teach Personal Narrative writing at the beginning of the school year, plus get alternatives to the overused “what I did this summer” writing prompt!