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Student Writing Models

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examples of narrative writing for elementary students

When you need an example written by a student, check out our vast collection of free student models. Scroll through the list, or search for a mode of writing such as “explanatory” or “persuasive.”

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Explanatory writing.

  • How Much I Know About Space Explanatory Paragraph
  • My Favorite Pet Explanatory Paragraph
  • Sweet Spring Explanatory Paragraph

Narrative Writing

  • A Happy Day Narrative Paragraph
  • My Trip to Mexico Narrative Paragraph

Creative Writing

  • Happy Easter Story Paragraph
  • Leaf Person Story

Research Writing

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  • If I Were President Explanatory Paragraph
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  • Plastic, Paper, or Cloth? Persuasive Paragraph
  • The Funny Dance Personal Narrative
  • The Sled Run Personal Narrative
  • Hello, Spring! Poem
  • Cheetahs Report

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  • Adopting a Pet from the Pound Editorial
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  • Ann Personal Narrative
  • Grandpa, Chaz, and Me Personal Narrative
  • Indy’s Life Story Personal Narrative
  • Jet Bikes Personal Narrative
  • The Day I Took the Spotlight Personal Narrative
  • A Story of Survival Book Review
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  • Did You Ever Look At . . . Poem
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  • I Am Attean Poem
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  • The Terror of Kansas Story
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  • Friendship Definition
  • What Really Matters News Feature
  • Cheating in America Problem-Solution
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  • A Cowboy's Journal Fictionalized Journal Entry
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  • The Racist Warehouse Personal Narrative
  • Limadastrin Poem
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  • How the Stars Came to Be Story
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examples of narrative writing for elementary students

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Narrative student writing samples that will blow you away!

examples of narrative writing for elementary students

Have you ever lost yourself in a great novel? One of those stories that hooks you from the start, makes you empathise with the characters and keeps you on the edge of your seat, before wrapping everything up in the most satisfying way? 

Imagine you’re at your desk reading through all of your students’ writing assignments and each one captivates you. They don’t start with ‘Once upon a time’ and end with ‘and then I woke up!’ How much more enjoyable would that task be?

The students featured below certainly know how to hook their reader. Using the Seven Steps techniques has helped them to Ban the Boring and make their stories engaging from beginning to end. 

Check out these awesome narrative student writing samples that were entered into the 2020 Seven Steps Narrative Writing Competition.

Narrative student writing samples

Step 2: sizzling starts.

Technique: Start with a sound

examples of narrative writing for elementary students

Layla, Year 2 Sunrise Christian School

Download Layla’s writing sample

Technique: Start with dialogue

Year 3 before and after narrative student writing sample

Amelia, Year 3 Kalamunda Christian School

Download Amelia’s writing sample

Step 3: Tightening Tension

Technique: Add sensory details

Year 3 Tightening Tension narrative student writing sample

Jack, Year 3 Honeywood Primary School

Download Jack’s writing sample

Step 7:  Exciting Endings

Technique: Add an emotional resolution

Year 4 before and after narrative writing sample

Amina, Year 4 Harrington Park Public School

Download Amina’s writing sample

Putting It All Together (All Steps)

Putting it all together student writing sample

Download Harry’s full writing sample

Narrative writing manual

Well done to these published authors!

All these narrative student writing samples have been published in the new Seven Steps Narrative Writing Manual. We’re so proud of these students and their writing success!

Free narrative writing resources

  • How to teach narrative writing
  • Narrative writing samples
  • Narrative writing activities
  • Narrative writing prompts
  • Narrative Writing Competition winners
  • Sizzling Starts Transformation Challenge
  • NAPLAN writing samples

Find out how to Learn, Teach, Apply and Assess the Seven Steps techniques in our Narrative Writing Course. Get access to hundreds of narrative writing resources including theory videos, Action Activities, Classroom PowerPoints, lesson plans and so much more!

examples of narrative writing for elementary students

Learn how to break down writing and build up student confidence.

examples of narrative writing for elementary students

Super Easy Storytelling creative writing website for kids

Story Examples

Try these short, fun story examples that use our super easy writing and storytelling formula .

  • Story Starting Ideas with Example Stories
  • Interactive Storytelling Example
  • Fill in the Blank Completed Story Examples
  • Example Story- show importance of describing words

Interactive storytelling Example

See how to use our storytelling formula to tell an impromptu story, while asking the audience for input.

Story Examples using Fill in the Blank Stories

Our fill in the blank stories are a quick and easy qay to show children how different describing words completely change the story.

  • Sample completed fill in the blank stories
  • Fill in the blanks stories overview

Using good describing words Sample Story

Compare these easy and advanced versions of this sample story created with our super easy storytelling formula. See how using better adjectives advance your story writing. Learn more in our storytelling and creative writing how to guides.

Who + What + Why Not = A Lizard + Wants to be a rockstar + But he can't sing.

  • Easy Version
  • Advanced Version

{Add character detail and set up the story} Once there was a little green lizard who really, really wanted to be a rockstar. He had the long flowing hair and the super cool dance moves, but he couldn’t even sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” without the other lizards covering their ears and begging him to stop. He needed to learn how to sing. So… {Add action} One day, our adventurous lizard heard about a magic pool at the top of Rockopolis Mountain. If he could get to it, he could drink the water and become a great singer. So he put on some hiking shoes and grabbed a backpack and a snack and set out for the top of Rockopolis Mountain. He climbed all day and finally he could see the top of the mountain. {Add a twist of rising action} But just then, he learned why it’s called Rockopolis Mountain. It started rocking and rolling, bumping and shaking, and it nearly shook our little lizard clear off the mountain. Lizard grabbed a tree and held on for dear life. Leaves dropped on his head. Rocks rolled down around him. He was so sure he would lose his grip and go tumbling down, down, down. {Add a falling action} Then as fast as it started, the shaking stopped. The leaves settled. Lizard’s feet stood steady on the ground. As soon as he was still, he took off running. He was going to reach the top before anymore shaking started. Just a few more steps and finally, he reached the pool and took a great big gulp of magic water. He opened his mouth to test the results. {Add resolution} Out came the most beautiful singing he’d ever heard. He’d done it! So he set off down the mountain, singing a happy tune all the way while he dreamed of his next step toward becoming a rockstar.

{Add character detail and set up the story} A tall, florescent green lizard stood admiring his shimmering form in the mirror. Running his bulbous fingers through is wild, blue hair he popped himself into a dance pose he was sure would get the audience screaming. He was born to be a rockstar-- with one teensy problem. The only thing making people scream was his awful singing. When Lizard (he pronounced is Liz- arggh, kind of like a pirate), opened his mouth, the noise that came out had people screaming for him to stop. If he was going to be the rockstar he knew he was born to be, he needed to learn how to sing. {Add action} One day while he was browsing through cds at the record store, Lizarggh overheard some rockers talking about a secret grotto at the top of Rockopolis Mountain. Legend says that anyone who drinks from the dark pool in the grotto instantly gains a voice as smooth and deep as its waters. Lizzarggh knew what he had to do. He laced up his combat boots, slipped a power bar in his satchel, and started climbing. {Add a twist of rising action} After hours of hacking his way through brush and struggling over boulders, the tip of the grotto peaked above the next hill. With a rush of renewed energy, Lizzargh took off, bounding over rocks until they felt like they were shaking loose under the impact of his feet. Wow, he must have some strong feet, he thought, because they were really starting to tumble now. Oh no! He realized Rockopolis Mountain was really rocking! It was an earthquake shaking loose the stones. He leaped and grabbed for a tree branch, and swung his legs up to capture the bough. He popped his suction cup fingers into action keeping a death grip on the branch. {Add a falling action} Finally, the leaves stopped shaking, the ground settled, and Lizzargh lowered one toe, gently nudging the rock beneath him to check for stability. No rocking. No rolling. He straightened is leather jacket, shook his blue hair back into a stylishly wild disarray, and sprinted up the mountain like a pack of biker lizards were after him. {Add resolution} He should have been wary. He should have been careful. But blame it on the rocking and rolling of that mountain, Lizzargh was too amped to hold back. He dove in and gulped down the silky water. He rose above the surface, flung his sodden locks out of his eyes, and wailed his highest note. It was awesome. It soared. It rocked and it rolled. He was going to make it. Finally he could be the rockstar he was born to be.

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65 Engaging Personal Narrative Ideas for Kids and Teens

Tell a story to engage the reader.

examples of narrative writing for elementary students

Personal narrative essays are all about telling stories. Engage your reader with lots of descriptive language, and ensure you have a beginning, middle, and end. ( Get more tips about teaching narrative writing here. ) Try these personal narrative ideas to inspire kids and teens to tell meaningful stories from their own lives, no matter what they’ve experienced.

“Describe a Time When You …” Personal Narrative Ideas

Firsts and bests personal narrative ideas, general personal narrative essay ideas, college essay personal narrative ideas.

These personal narrative ideas urge students to dig into their past experiences and share them with their audience. Be sure to share the details, including what took place and how it made you feel, and anything you learned from the experience.

Describe a time when you:

  • Were scared
  • Overcame a big challenge
  • Learned an important life lesson
  • Had to make a difficult decision

examples of narrative writing for elementary students

  • Were proud of a friend or family member
  • Did something you didn’t want to and ended up liking it
  • Met a celebrity or someone you really admire
  • Tried something new
  • Made a mistake and had to apologize and/or fix the mistake
  • Were in danger
  • Helped someone in need
  • Had a dream come true
  • Felt inspired
  • Had a really terrible day

examples of narrative writing for elementary students

  • Were a leader
  • Made someone else laugh
  • Did something you later regretted
  • Set a goal and achieved it

These essay topics explore the times you did something for the first time ever, or when you were the best version of yourself.

  • Write about meeting your best friend for the first time and how your relationship developed.

examples of narrative writing for elementary students

  • Tell about learning to ride a bike or drive a car.
  • Tell about your proudest moment.
  • What is your happiest memory?
  • What is your earliest memory?
  • Explain what it’s like to move to a new town or start a new school.
  • What’s the best (or worst!) vacation you’ve ever taken?
  • Tell the story of the time you got your first pet.
  • Describe your favorite field trip of all time.
  • Tell the story of your first day of kindergarten.
  • What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten?
  • Describe the best party or celebration you’ve ever attended.
  • Tell about the first time someone ever paid you for work (first job, chores for a neighbor, babysitting, etc.) and how it made you feel.

examples of narrative writing for elementary students

  • Describe the first time you spent a night away from home without your family.
  • What’s the best gift you’ve ever been given?

Here are more personal narrative topics to inspire young writers.

  • Describe a performance or sporting event you took part in.
  • Explain the process of cooking and eating your favorite meal.
  • Write about a time when you or someone you know displayed courage.
  • Share the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you.
  • Describe a time when you or someone you know experienced prejudice or oppression.

examples of narrative writing for elementary students

  • Explain a family tradition, how it developed, and its importance today.
  • What is your favorite holiday? How does your family celebrate it?
  • Describe your morning routine from the time you wake up until the moment the school bell rings to start the day.
  • Share what you do on a typical non-school day.
  • Tell about a time when you were injured. How did it happen?
  • Describe an argument you and a friend had and how you resolved it.
  • Tell about what you think your life will be like when you’re 25 years old.
  • Explore a time when you felt you were treated unfairly.
  • What makes your family different from everyone else’s family?
  • If you could relive any day in your life, what would it be? Would you want it to be the same or different?

examples of narrative writing for elementary students

These personal narrative essay topics all come from real 2022–2023 college applications. ( See more college essay prompts here. )

  • Discuss a time when reflection or introspection led to clarity or understanding of an issue that is important to you.
  • Share an example of how you have used your own critical-thinking skills on a specific subject, project, idea, or interest.

examples of narrative writing for elementary students

  • Using your personal, academic, or volunteer/work experiences, describe the topics or issues that you care about and why they are important to you.
  • Reflect on a personal experience where you intentionally expanded your cultural awareness.
  • When was the last time you questioned something you had thought to be true?
  • Reflect on a time when you or someone you observed had to make a choice about whether to act with integrity and honesty.
  • Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes, or contributed to group efforts over time.
  • Describe a time when you were challenged by a perspective that differed from your own. How did you respond?
  • Elaborate on an activity or experience you have had that made an impact on a community that is important to you.

examples of narrative writing for elementary students

  • Describe any meaningful travel experiences you’ve had.
  • Choose one of the communities to which you belong, and describe that community and your place within it.
  • What is the greatest compliment you have ever been given? Why was it meaningful to you?
  • What has been your best academic experience in the last two years, and what made it so good?
  • Describe a time when you’ve felt empowered or represented by an educator.
  • Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.

What are your favorite personal narrative ideas? Come share on the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.

Plus, check out the big list of essay topics for high school (100+ ideas) ., you might also like.

What Is Narrative Writing and How Do I Teach It in the Classroom?

What Is Narrative Writing, and How Do I Teach It in the Classroom?

It's more than just telling stories. Continue Reading

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Literacy Ideas

Narrative Writing for Kids: Essential Skills and Strategies

narrative writing for kids

Narrative Writing for kids starts with fun and creativity.

A good story lies at the heart of excellent narrative writing. This genre is relatively easy for younger students to ‘get’ as storybooks are most often the first types of text they will encounter.

As they prepare to begin writing their own narratives, though, we need to tease out of our students exactly what we mean by ‘story’. That meaning is to be found in the essential elements of a narrative.

Step 1: Learn the Essential Elements of a Narrative

Be sure to take a look at complte guide to Narrative Writing here.

Before teaching specific narrative writing strategies to your students, you’ll need to ensure they clearly understand the six essential elements of a story.

Below, we’ll review each of these story sections alongside an example of each in action chosen from the fairytale Little Red Riding Hood .

i. The Exposition: Characters and Setting 

The exposition or opening of the story orientates the reader, usually by revealing the story’s setting and introducing the main character/s. It may also hint at the central problem yet to come.

Frequently, the setting and characters are closely related. For example, a science fiction story might have space as its setting and an astronaut as the main character.

“Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived in a village near a thick forest.”

ii. The Problem: The Conflict

Without a problem or conflict, there is no story, just a list of events. Here are some examples of the more common types of conflict to be found in stories:

  • Main Character vs Character: A face-off against an arch-enemy.
  • Main Character vs The Self: Overcome a personal flaw.
  • Main Character vs the World: A struggle against society.
  • Main Character vs Nature: A battle against the environment or an animal.
  • Main Character vs Supernatural: A war against the otherwordly.

 “One day Little Red Riding Hood decided to take a basket of goodies to her Grandma, who lived in a little house in the forest. ‘Remember,’ her mother told her, ‘Go straight to Grandma’s house and don’t dawdle. The Big Bad Wolf is lurking in the forest.’

iii. The Rising Action: More Problems

Usually, more obstacles than one will be put in the main character’s path. These extra dilemmas help build tension as the story progresses on its way towards the climax.

“The Big Bad Wolf ran to Grandma’s house. He gobbled her up, put on her clothes, and climbed into her bed.”

iv. The Climax: The Dramatic Highpoint

The climax is when the story’s central problem comes to a head. For example, the main character might finally have that dramatic showdown with her nemesis. The climax should be the most exciting, drama-filled part of a story.

“The woodcutter burst into the room swinging a huge axe above his head. The Big Bad Wolf jumped out the window and ran deep into the forest.”

v. The Falling Action: The Winddown

Where the rising action of a story helps build tension as the story works towards its climax, the falling action relieves the tension after the drama of the climax. The falling action describes what happens directly after the climax as the story works its way towards the resolution.

“Little Red Riding Hood let out a huge sigh of relief. ‘Thank you!’ she blurted out to the woodcutter.


narrative writing for kids,early years,junior | story tellers bundle 1 | Narrative Writing for Kids: Essential Skills and Strategies | literacyideas.com

A MASSIVE COLLECTION of resources for narratives and story writing in the classroom covering all elements of crafting amazing stories. MONTHS WORTH OF WRITING LESSONS AND RESOURCES, including:

vi. The Resolution: Tying-Up Loose Ends

This section of the story is where the writer ties up any of the story’s loose ends.

“And from that day on, no one ever saw the Big Bad Wolf in the forest again.”

Step 2: Internalize the Elements

Students will need some practice activities to help internalize these essential elements before they can begin to structure the plot of their own stories satisfactorily.

Here are a trio of practical activities to help your younger students achieve this.

Activity 1: Identify the Elements

  • Organize students into smaller groups of around three or four for this activity.
  • Give students a selection of well-known stories to work on in their groups – fairy tales work well for younger students.
  • Challenge the students to identify the following elements of each story: character and setting, problem, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
  • Groups present their findings to the class – you may wish to assign each group the same story if you want to compare and contrast each group’s decisions.

Activity 2: Plot the Plot

Literacy Poster plot.jpg

  • Students draw one small picture in their groups to illustrate each of the elements identified in the previous activity.
  • Students then draw an x and y-axis on a large sheet of paper.
  • Students label the horizontal x-axis ‘Time’ and the vertical y-axis ‘Drama’.
  • Students then plot each element of the narrative as it occurs chronologically from left to right. The more dramatic the story element is, the higher the plot point will be on the y axis.
  • Students paste each illustration above the corresponding plot point on the graph, creating a visual representation of the story’s action.

Activity 3: Don’t Lose the Plot!

  •   Each group can present their graph of the story’s action to the class.
  • Using their graph as a visual prompt, each group retells the story with reference to the rising and falling action as depicted in their graph.

Once your students have grasped the main elements of a soundly constructed narrative, it’s time for them to put the theory into practice.

The following fun activities will help your students begin to create their own narratives.

Step 3: Get Off to a Great Start

As we’ve seen from the essential elements section, a strong opening begins with the setting and the characters, with the central problem hot on their heels.

The purpose of these sections is to grab the reader’s attention firmly enough that they will want to continue reading the rest of the story. The following activities will help your students get off to that strong start by introducing characters and a setting, defining the central problem, and building the rising action by introducing further obstacles.

It all starts with choosing characters and a setting. We need to make this as interesting as possible for our apprentice writers. If the writer themself is not interested, how can they hope to engage the reader?

Activity 1: A Stranger in a Strange Land

  • Ask students to think of as many different types of fictional stories as they can.
  • Write their suggestions on the whiteboard, e.g., science fiction, fantasy, adventure, horror, romance, etc.
  • Ask students to list the types of characters they would expect to find in each type of story, e.g., astronauts in a science fiction story, a young married couple in a story about a haunted house, etc.
  • Write the students suggestions beside each story type on the whiteboard.
  • Organize students into groups of three or four as before, and ask them to match each type of story with the most unlikely characters (at least two characters should be chosen) from the class’s suggestions. These will form the settings and characters for the stories students will write later.

Activity 2: Pick a Problem

  • Students need to flesh out their characters. To do this, instruct them to write brief profiles including a physical description and some simple biographical details – use a graphic organizer to help!
  • To create their central problem, students should decide on conflicting motivations for two of their characters. For example, Little Red Riding Hood’s motivation is to visit her grandma and return safely. On the other hand, the Big Bad Wolf’s motivation is to eat both Grandma and Little Red Riding Hood.

Activity 3: Raise the Stakes

  • Explain to students that they can increase the dramatic tension in their story by adding further obstacles in the main character’s path.
  • Give the students the task of brainstorming some additional problems they can create for their main character to solve on the way to their story’s climax.

Step 4: Bring Things to a Head

By now, the students will have worked their way to the dramatic highpoint of their story’s action, and it’s time to delve into the climax and the falling action that will lead the story down the slide of the falling action towards the narrative’s final resolution.

Activity 1: Learn from the Best

  • Organize students into groups of three or four.
  • Ask the students to make a list of their Top 3 Favorite Movies and Top 3 Favorite Books .
  • Instruct the groups to discuss and identify the climactic moments in these narratives.
  • Task students to make a list of the features of each that made each climax work. What was the main character trying to achieve? What was preventing them from achieving it? How did they achieve their goal in the end?
  • Finally, ask students to think about their own story. What can they take from the climaxes of their favorite stories to help them complete their own narratives?
  • Have students share their ideas with each other.

Activity 2: Wrap Things Up

  •  To identify the falling action, students ask themselves: What happens after the action of the climax has finished?
  • To identify the resolution, students ask themselves: What loose ends from earlier in the story need to be tied up?

Step 5: Plan a Narrative

The activities above will have helped your students internalise the narrative arc’s essential elements and laid much of the preparation work for writing their story.

At this stage, they should be ready to map out their story using a graphic organizer. One that organizes their notes in the sequence of the essential elements listed above will help reinforce student understanding.

Once they have completed their graphic organizer, it’s time for students to zoom in on their focus, from the big picture to the finer details.


Step 6: Narrative Writing Tips

There is more to a well-written narrative than a soundly structured story arc. The writing itself must be finely crafted and filled with detail if it is to create vivid pictures in the reader’s mind and take them on an emotional journey.

The following tips will help students bring color and life to their writing.

Tip #1: Appeal to the Senses

When writing descriptions, encourage students to incorporate the five senses into their writing. Often, students focus on describing what can be seen and heard but challenge them to appeal to the other senses in their writing too. For example, what can be smelled, tasted, felt in this scene?

Tip #2: Show, Don’t Tell

This is an old-school writing standby for a good reason. Prompt students to reveal character through actions rather than directly telling the reader what they’re like. Suppose a character is greedy, for example. In that case, the student could show this by having them eating everyone’s food at a party rather than simply writing something like, ‘Stephanie was a very greedy person.’

Tip #3: Choose Just the Right Word

 Writing is an excellent opportunity for younger writers to broaden their vocabulary. Help students choose just the right word to tell their tale accurately by teaching them how to use a thesaurus. Choose one that is suited to your students’ ages and abilities. You’ll find a tremendous kid-friendly online thesaurus here.

Tip #4: Select Powerful Verbs

Due to their more straightforward nature, stories written by younger students are generally action-driven rather than character-driven. In such cases, verbs will drive the action of the narrative. Therefore, encourage students to select strong verbs to create that compelling narrative that readers love to read.

Tip #5: Edit – Always!

 Younger students need to learn the importance of drafting, editing, and proofreading when writing any type of text. As story writing is often their first experience of extended writing, teachers should take the opportunity to create good editing habits from the start.


narrative writing for kids,early years,junior | narrative writing unit 1 2 | Narrative Writing for Kids: Essential Skills and Strategies | literacyideas.com

Teach your students to become skilled story writers with this HUGE   NARRATIVE & CREATIVE STORY WRITING UNIT . Offering a  COMPLETE SOLUTION  to teaching students how to craft  CREATIVE CHARACTERS, SUPERB SETTINGS, and PERFECT PLOTS .

Over 192 PAGES of materials, including:

No doubt about it; there’s a lot to narrative writing. Luckily, most of our younger students will already be familiar with many of the basic conventions of storytelling from their years of listening to bedtime stories and watching their favourite cartoons. This is why emergent writers usually learn to write narratives before many other text types.

Of course, narratives play such a crucial role in a student’s early years because children love stories. We all do! So, while there is quite a lot for students to work on, narrative writing is usually an easy sell.

With an understanding of the basic underlying structures and a little imaginative flair, your students will produce entertaining stories in no time.

examples of narrative writing for elementary students

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A Reading Teacher's Blog

Teaching Narrative Writing in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Grade

When teaching narrative writing in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade, there are so many writing skills to cover. They range from creating a sequence of events (beginning, middle, and end) to more difficult skills like building strong characterization. With a class full of students at such varying levels of writing, it can be overwhelming to think of where to start with your narrative writing unit.  

Narrative Writing in Elementary School

Narrative writing can be one of the most motivational types of writing for students since the topics can be something they feel connected to in their own lives.  Personal narratives allow them to talk about their own experiences they want to share, and fictional narratives let students create a story about absolutely anything that they want!  

As you can see in the chart below, students are expected to do a little bit more with narrative writing as they grow as writers from 1 st to 3 rd grade.    

Common Core ELA Standards for Narrative Writing

So, 1 st grade focuses on developing sequenced events (beginning, middle, end).   With 2 nd and 3 rd grade, the focus is creating a hook/opening, events (beginning, middle, end), and a closing. In 2 nd and 3 rd grade students also need to begin to develop characterization.

For young writers learning such a new, specific format of writing, it is really important to break it up into small, clear steps. 

Below is how I tackle narrative writing step by step:


First, I explain what a narrative is with visuals and examples.  I go through a pre-written narrative writing example.  These examples will differ depending on whether we are working on writing fictional narratives or personal narratives.

Narrative Writing Anchor Charts

We identify and discuss each part of the piece of writing.  For first graders that means the beginning, middle, and end.  For second and third graders, that means an opening, events (beginning, middle and end), and closing.


Narrative Writing Sentence Starters

I like to model the actual process of writing a narrative as well.  With modeling a personal narrative, I like to pick an experience we have had in school that year so that it is easy for students to participate.  I keep this model basic and clear so that students are not overwhelmed in what they need to produce in their first piece of narrative writing.  While modeling, I refer to the prewritten example that I provided earlier.  I also display sentence starters and transitions to use as a guide.   


First, students can practice the narrative format by using picture prompts for beginning, middle, and end.  They use the visuals to describe what happens from the beginning to the end of their story.

Narrative Writing Prompts First Grade

Next, it’s time for students to begin fictional narrative or personal narrative writing from scratch!  At first, I usually provide a writing prompt for the entire class that is easily relatable.  The prompts will vary depending on if we are working on writing personal narratives (“Tell about a time when…”) or fictional narratives (“Write a story about…”).  However, you could also give multiple options or have students develop their own individual topics.  

During the prewriting phase of the writing process, students brainstorm using graphic organizers. 

Personal Narrative Writing Organizer

I like give students two graphic organizers – one for them to first brainstorm ideas for their drafts, and then one to organize their ideas into a narrative writing format.

Narrative Writing Graphic Organizers

While writing their drafts, students can refer to sentence starters to help guide them in writing their stories.  

After writing their drafts, I give students an editing checklist to use as a reference.  This makes it easier for them to make sure they have included each part of a piece of narrative writing.  

Narrative Writing Editing Checklist


As students are ready, I target specific narrative writing skills either as a whole class, or with just a small group that is ready for taking their writing to the next level. 

To introduce a particular narrative writing skill (i.e. writing narrative hooks), I display a poster that is student-friendly with visuals and examples.  Then, I have graphic organizers or practice pages that students can use to work through each strategy on their own.  

Most students will need help with the following narrative skills:

Writing a Strong Narrative Hook:

Breaking narrative hooks down by hook types is so helpful for giving them some tools for creating their own leads.  Grab the posters below and a couple practice writing pages for free here .

Writing Narrative Hooks or Leads

Writing a Strong Narrative Ending:

Similar to writing hooks, breaking down narrative endings by type is also a helpful way for students to try out different closings for their piece of writing.

Writing Narrative Ending Types

Small Moments Writing:

So often, personal narratives can just turn into a list of moments in order. By teaching and practicing small moments writing , students can see how much more powerful their writing becomes when they zoom in on the most important moment in their story.

Small Moments Writing

Describing Characters:

When teaching narrative writing in 2 nd grade, students need to learn to describe characters by their actions, thoughts, and feelings.  By 3 rd grade, the Common Core asks that students also use dialogue to develop characterization in their writing.

Describing Characters or Building Characterization

Describing Character Feelings

You can display a poster of different ways to describe similar feelings to build stronger word choice in their writing.  Students can use this poster to go through and edit their word choice in their own piece of writing. 

Describing Feelings Poster

Using Fiction Story Elements:

You can have students prewrite with story elements graphic organizers to ensure they hit each element in their own writing.

Fiction Story Elements Anchor Chart


I love using fictional narrative and personal narrative journals to provide students with tons of ongoing practice!  I use them as informal free-writes just for continual practice, but some or all of the entries could be used for writing pieces that go through the writing process (prewriting, drafting, editing, revising, and publishing) as well.  

Narrative Writing Journals

All of the materials shown in this blog post for teaching narrative writing in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade can be found in the Narrative Writing Unit in my TpT shop!

Next: Teaching Opinion Writing in the Primary Grades

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