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Discovering Narrative Strategies

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Discovering Narrative Strategies

Illustration of boy writing his name in a frosty window
© Thoughtful Learning 2015

Personal narratives are true stories about your own experiences. They can be fun to write if you know how. One way to learn is to read a personal narrative along with a classmate, ask each other questions about it, and discuss strategies the writer used. Afterward, you'll be ready to write a personal narrative of your own.

Your Turn Read this personal narrative with a classmate or group of classmates. (You can also check out other personal narratives.) Then answer the following questions:

  • What did I like about this narrative? Why?
  • What questions do I have about the narrative?
  • How does the writer start the story? How does the writer finish the story?
  • How does the writer use description?
  • How does the writer use dialogue?
  • How does the writer show action?
  • Which of these strategies could I use in my own personal narrative?

After you finish discussing these questions with your partner, develop your own personal narrative. Try to use a number of these strategies in your writing. Then trade narratives with your partner, read each others' work, and discuss the pieces using the same questions.

Sample Personal Narrative


When I Got Burned on Dad's Motorcycle

As I was going outside, I was a little nervous because I was going to ride on my dad’s motorcycle.

“Come on. Get up,” said my dad cheerfully.

“Okay,” I answered. But just as I was getting onto the seat, I burnt myself on one of the pipes!

“Ow!” I yelled as I started to cry.

“Are you all right?” asked my mom.

“No,” I answered.

“Come here,” said my mom. “Let’s take a look at that burn. It’s not so bad, but I don’t think you should go for a ride right now.”

I felt glad that my mom had said that.

“Aw, come on. It won’t hurt once we get going,” said my dad.

Then he picked me up and set me on the seat of the motorcycle.

“Dad, I’m not sure I want to go!” I said.

“Nonsense. It’ll be fun,” said my dad. We took off.

I have to admit that during the ride, I started to laugh. My burn hardly hurt anymore. I wasn’t nervous, and I had a great ride.

I’m really glad my dad convinced me to get on the motorcycle. If he hadn’t, I probably never would have gotten on it again. From that day on, I knew I would never give up after I got hurt. I would just try again.

© 2024 Thoughtful Learning. Copying is permitted.