The one about narratives in reading and writing {part 2}

Hopefully you caught my previous post about the fun tools I use for teaching about narrative structures in reading…now it’s time to turn my readers into writers! 

One thing you need to know about me…I’m not a Halloween person. Like at all. We could skip Halloween for all I care. But what I DO love are scary stories. The kind that make you crawl out of your skin just a little bit. You know who else loves scary stories? My students. This is the perfect time to capitalize on their ideas and go from readers of narratives to writers of narratives. 

How can you plan a narrative writing unit though? Here’s a guide I use when planning a narrative unit.

First, you need a hook. I like to read an excerpt from Invasion of the Night Weenies called “A Little Night Fishing.” This gem was passed down to me from my mentor during my first year of teaching and I have used it ever since. One thing I especially like about it is that it’s not what kids think of as scary. There aren’t any zombies, witches, or Frankensteins. It’s a surprise ending that just freaks you out a little. 

After reading, we talk about what made the story creepy and other things we associate with scary stories (including the zombies, witches, or Frankensteins). 

Then we get into our graphic organizer, which is modeled like a plot diagram- the same one we’ve been using for our narrative reading. Students are more easily able to follow a structure that we’ve already been using- no need to reinvent the wheel.

This is a good time to figure out what writing mini-lessons to use. Is dialogue necessary? Should you just stick to breaking up into paragraphs? Different classes have different needs. 

Rough drafts are completed in between mini-lessons. I have students use looseleaf and skip lines to make editing easy. After our rough drafts, students are matched with a peer editor and then I start meeting with them individually. While it can be tricky, it’s important not write students’ stories for them. I like to ask them questions and see if they can problem solve. “How did that character get there?” “Why are they running down a hallway?” “How was the witch magically defeated?”

When we’re ready for final drafts, my students usually hand write them for the first couple months, and then when we’re ready, we switch to typing.

The next part is THE BEST- celebrating! Anyone who wants to share their story is allowed to. Sometimes we share with a partner, table groups, or whole group. Not every student is comfortable to share in front of the whole crowd, but many will share in partners or a smaller group.

Ready to plan your own writing unit? Click on the image below to save to your computer. 

Want to try something already planned out? Check out my narrative writing units. Each one comes with a full unit plan, graphic organizers, final draft papers an extra activities!

Share it:


You might also like...