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Teacher Tips and Answers

Writing a Personal Narrative

Once you finish prewriting, you are ready to tell your story in writing. These activities will help you hook the reader's attention at the beginning, build interest through a sequence of events, and lead to a strong ending for your personal narrative. You'll also read another student's narrative to see how all of the parts came together.

Writing the Beginning Paragraph

The first few sentences in your narrative should grab the reader’s attention. They are called the lead. The following activity will help you write an effective lead.

Write a lead.

For each strategy that follows, write a lead that could work for your personal narrative. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

  • Start in the middle of the action.

    Suddenly, I heard a crash downstairs and the sound of breaking glass. “Hey, who’s down there?” I yelled.

    (Answers will vary.)

  • Have the characters talk.

    My brother’s lips were so swollen, it sounded like he said, “Mine guess who fur hiss!”

    “What?” I said.

    He glared at me and said louder, “I’ll get you for this!”

    (Answers will vary.)

  • Begin with a surprising statement or fact.

    When I was nine, I started my dad’s car and drove onto the street. I thought I was going to New Jersey.

    (Answers will vary.)

  • Give some important background information.

    It was a beautiful August morning. The sun was brightly shining on my sunglasses while my mother drove the U-haul truck to a warehouse in Santa Ana, California. As my mother drove down the streets of Santa Ana, I looked out the window and began to realize that the mixture of people was no longer a mixture; there was only white.

    (Answers will vary.)

This lesson is a part of the Writing Personal Narratives unit.

Click the title to view more information about this unit and a full list of lessons that are included.

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