Narrative Writing: How to Teach Students to Write Better Stories

Stories are everywhere! Kids absolutely love telling and hearing stories, but they often struggle with how to write their narratives down. Whether they are writing a short story about a personal experience they had, using their imagination to create fictional narratives, or recording someone else’s point of view in the first person, personal narratives can be difficult. Read below to learn a few key ideas on how to teach narrative writing to students in a fun way they will love!

Narrative Writing How to Teach Students to Write Better Stories

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The first step in helping students write better stories is to help them realize that they are already doing it. Remind them that they tell stories every day by doing things such as gathering outside to talk about what happened to them over the weekend and more! They greet each other in the classroom with stories about a new toy, game, or experience they had. They tell you about something funny that happened to them or to a family member! From real-life events to tv shows, stories are everywhere.

Be sure to show them that when they are telling these stories, they are telling the most exciting parts because they want their friends and family to listen. They are speaking with excitement in their voices and love it when they see the listeners smiling or laughing at what they said. This use of strong details is one of many things that makes a good story.

Narrative Writing How to Teach Students to Write Better Stories
Teach narrative writing by reminding students that stories are everywhere.

Tell them to apply this to their writing! Since the author’s purpose for narrative writing is usually to entertain, tell students to write their own stories as if they are talking to their best friend, or telling a story to a loved one they haven’t seen in a while. This helps them practice the art of storytelling and will allow their excitement and enthusiasm to explode on the paper!

2. Read Models of Narratives to Teach Narrative Writing

One of the easiest ways to model writing narratives for students is to read them stories written about an event or experience. By reading these stories, students will get an idea of how they should structure their stories. They will see that excitement and emotion are everywhere inside these stories and that they should add those elements to their own writing as well.

Narrative Writing How to Teach Students to Write Better Stories
Teach narrative writing how to lessons using fun read alouds.

Here are a few examples of some great texts that students can use as narrative writing how to models:

  • Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall – The little boy in this story goes through an emotional roller coaster as he prepares to jump off the diving board at his neighborhood pool. The kids can see the detail put into the writing as well as the emotions expressed.
  • When Father Comes Home by Sarah Jung – This story is all about a little boy’s experiences when his father comes home from long journeys. This is a great story for discussing big real life moments in a child’s life and how they make them feel.
  • Beekle by Dan Santat – This fictional story is a great way to look at imaginary friends in a new light. Use this story to show students how to take someone else’s perspective and write as if they are someone else.
  • Ricky the Rock That Couldn’t Roll by Jason I. Miletsky – This story is all about friendship and perseverance but it uses amazing descriptive words. The words are great examples for students getting ready to write their own short stories. It also introduces dialogue and minor characters that add to a writer’s story.

3. Teach Narrative Writing by Having Them Map Out Their Stories

Story maps are an important part of the writing process and an efficient way for students to record their general idea for the story in chunks before putting them into full sentences. Use graphic organizers like these to let students organize their narrative structure so they don’t miss any details.

Graphic organizers for narrative stories include story elements such as the setting and main character or characters, as well as a series of events for the story. Depending on grade levels, the graphic organizer may also include the problem, climax, and resolution. Let students record brief summaries for all these areas and then put it into writing. The important thing to remember when writing in full sentences though is to add details to this portion of the task. Tell them that each part should not just be one sentence, but multiple. Remind them to include important parts of the story and to leave out irrelevant pieces.

If you want a fun way to brainstorm writing ideas, use my Narrative Writing Prompts for the Year. Students roll dice to determine what they will be writing about. They map out their story and then get creative!

Narrative Writing How to Teach Students to Write Better Stories
Use this activity for Narrative Writing How to Teach Students to Write Better Stories.

No matter which method you decide to use to introduce narrative writing, your students’ stories are sure to impress with the proper instruction. With these tips on how to teach students to write better stories, your students will be skilled storytellers in no time!

If you liked this narrative writing how to post, you may also like this post about Opinion Writing or this post about Improving Writing Skills


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