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Narrative Writing Sample- Grade 6

Splash Sample Image copy

Narrative Writing Grade 6 Sample Splash!

Feedback for Improvement

What worked:

  • There is a sense of story with a beginning, middle and end. 
  • The word choice is often high level - slammed, sprinted, flopped, tranquil, glistened
  • Entertaining Beginning: There was a mix of sound, action and thought - the author established the setting - the pond on a hot day
  • Elaborative Detail: There was plenty of elaborative detail - in the second paragraph, the author describes the setting - “Soon grey clouds filled the sky. Boom crash bang roared the thunder. I felt cool drops of water. We stared at the bubbles then a fish flopped into the air.”
  • Extended Ending : The author used a mix of memory, hope and thought. 

Can you summarize this story? 

This is a story about ______________.

The problem/adventure was _____________.

The problem was solved/adventure concluded when ___________.

Feedback with Prescriptive Lesson: CHOOSE a Focus Skill:

  • Section 1 Lesson 1: Introducing Graphic Organizers with Summarizing Framework
  • Section 1 Lesson 9: Annotating Narrative Stories - build foundation for story writing
  • Section 1 Lesson 11: Analyzing Assignments for Givens and Variables - creating pre-writing plans

Suspense: There was some evidence of suspense in the word “Suddenly,” however, it would improve the writing to add a magic of three as the thunderstorm rolled in.

  • Section 4 Lesson 3: Red Flag Words and Phrases
  • Section 4 Lesson 4: The Magic of Three

Main Event: What appears to be the main event is mostly description with some very general action. What was the main event of the story? Once that is established then add a balanced mix of action, description, thoughts/feelings, dialogue, and sound.

  • Section 5 Lesson 1: Comparing Summaries
  • Section 5 Lesson 2: Main Event

This student will benefit from participating in modeled lessons to develop the middle of the story- both suspense and main event.

Recommended Resources

  • Empowering Writer's Methodology
  • Narrative Writing Guide for Grade 6

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Teacher's Notepad

43 Narrative Writing Prompts for 6th Grade

Narrative writing is a great way to help students take a break from more structured, academic writing, in order to reflect on their own thoughts or on things they’ve learned and experienced over time.

Below, you’ll find a list of narrative writing prompts to encourage your sixth graders to open up and write about things they typically might not.

Using This Guide

When it comes to reflective journaling, students often participate more when they aren’t being graded or judged based on what they write.

Consider keeping these prompts handy for downtime between activities, quiet time, or when it seems like a student needs a little extra nudge.

Here are some ways you can use this list in your classroom:

  • Print prompts on strips of paper, and have students pick their assignments randomly.
  • Include a copy of these prompts in your start-of-year paperwork for students to keep handy when they need them.
  • Consider letting students keep a separate, ungraded journal for more personal prompts and writing activities.

The Writing Prompts

  • Write about a time when you struggled with your self-esteem.
  • What is your favorite elementary school memory?
  • Who is someone you see as a role model? Why do they inspire you?
  • What would you do with your free time if you had less access to technology?
  • Write about a time when you felt afraid. What happened to make you feel better?
  • Have you ever been in a fight with your best friend? Write about your fight and how it was resolved.
  • If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Why?
  • Write 10 things you have in common with someone from your class with whom you aren’t friends.
  • What would you do if you woke up tomorrow with wings?
  • What sort of books would make you more interested in the required reading for class? Why?
  • Have you ever been a victim of racism? How did it feel?
  • Have you ever witnessed someone being bullied? What did you do?
  • What is one thing you wish you could change about your community to make it more inclusive?
  • Which video game character do you relate to most? Why?
  • Which book character do you relate to most? Why?
  • Which superhero do you relate to most? Why?
  • Write about a time when you felt betrayed. What happened next?
  • What is your favorite holiday memory?
  • Write about the last time someone surprised you. How did you react?
  • Would you rather spend the summer at a camp on a lake or in a condo on the beach? Why?
  • Do you have a secret you’ve never told anyone? Write about it here, with as little or as much detail as you’d like.
  • What are three careers you would like to have in the future? Why do these things interest you?
  • If you could live in the world of any video game, which would you choose? Why?
  • Do you think kids and teens spend too much time using technology? Explain your answer.
  • Do you think that students should have mandatory homework? Why or why not?
  • Write about someone in your family who you look up to.
  • Does your family have any holiday traditions? What are they?
  • Write the schedule of your typical day.
  • Do you have a particular teacher who has affected your life in a positive way? Write a letter to them.
  • If your best friend was a color, what color would they be? Explain.
  • If you woke up tomorrow and learned that you could talk to your pet, what would you talk to them about?
  • What is something that you’re afraid of? What do you think you could do to overcome this fear?
  • Which do you prefer: online learning or school in the classroom? Explain your answer.
  • What is your favorite restaurant? What do you like to order there?
  • Who is someone you can always depend on? Write about what makes them dependable.
  • What does it mean to be an ally?
  • What do you think it means to be a feminist?
  • When you are sick, what are some things that make you feel better?
  • Write about a time when you were excited about something. 
  • What is your favorite type of weather? Why?
  • Which holiday is your favorite? Why?
  • Make a list of ten ways you can help the environment.
  • Compare and contrast yourself with a friend or sibling.

Looking For More?

Our site is home to a ton of great teacher, parent, and guardian resources that can be used in the classroom or at home. If you’re looking for something specific and can’t find it here, let us know. We’d love to help you out.

writing a personal narrative 6th grade

A Step-by-Step Plan for Teaching Narrative Writing

July 29, 2018

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writing a personal narrative 6th grade

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“Those who tell the stories rule the world.”  This proverb, attributed to the Hopi Indians, is one I wish I’d known a long time ago, because I would have used it when teaching my students the craft of storytelling. With a well-told story we can help a person see things in an entirely new way. We can forge new relationships and strengthen the ones we already have. We can change a law, inspire a movement, make people care fiercely about things they’d never given a passing thought.

But when we study storytelling with our students, we forget all that. Or at least I did. When my students asked why we read novels and stories, and why we wrote personal narratives and fiction, my defense was pretty lame: I probably said something about the importance of having a shared body of knowledge, or about the enjoyment of losing yourself in a book, or about the benefits of having writing skills in general.

I forgot to talk about the  power of story. I didn’t bother to tell them that the ability to tell a captivating story is one of the things that makes human beings extraordinary. It’s how we connect to each other. It’s something to celebrate, to study, to perfect. If we’re going to talk about how to teach students to write stories, we should start by thinking about why we tell stories at all . If we can pass that on to our students, then we will be going beyond a school assignment; we will be doing something transcendent.

Now. How do we get them to write those stories? I’m going to share the process I used for teaching narrative writing. I used this process with middle school students, but it would work with most age groups.

A Note About Form: Personal Narrative or Short Story?

When teaching narrative writing, many teachers separate personal narratives from short stories. In my own classroom, I tended to avoid having my students write short stories because personal narratives were more accessible. I could usually get students to write about something that really happened, while it was more challenging to get them to make something up from scratch.

In the “real” world of writers, though, the main thing that separates memoir from fiction is labeling: A writer might base a novel heavily on personal experiences, but write it all in third person and change the names of characters to protect the identities of people in real life. Another writer might create a short story in first person that reads like a personal narrative, but is entirely fictional. Just last weekend my husband and I watched the movie Lion and were glued to the screen the whole time, knowing it was based on a true story. James Frey’s book  A Million Little Pieces  sold millions of copies as a memoir but was later found to contain more than a little bit of fiction. Then there are unique books like Curtis Sittenfeld’s brilliant novel American Wife , based heavily on the early life of Laura Bush but written in first person, with fictional names and settings, and labeled as a work of fiction. The line between fact and fiction has always been really, really blurry, but the common thread running through all of it is good storytelling.

With that in mind, the process for teaching narrative writing can be exactly the same for writing personal narratives or short stories; it’s the same skill set. So if you think your students can handle the freedom, you might decide to let them choose personal narrative or fiction for a narrative writing assignment, or simply tell them that whether the story is true doesn’t matter, as long as they are telling a good story and they are not trying to pass off a fictional story as fact.

Here are some examples of what that kind of flexibility could allow:

  • A student might tell a true story from their own experience, but write it as if it were a fiction piece, with fictional characters, in third person.
  • A student might create a completely fictional story, but tell it in first person, which would give it the same feel as a personal narrative.
  • A student might tell a true story that happened to someone else, but write it in first person, as if they were that person. For example, I could write about my grandmother’s experience of getting lost as a child, but I might write it in her voice.

If we aren’t too restrictive about what we call these pieces, and we talk about different possibilities with our students, we can end up with lots of interesting outcomes. Meanwhile, we’re still teaching students the craft of narrative writing.

A Note About Process: Write With Your Students

One of the most powerful techniques I used as a writing teacher was to do my students’ writing assignments with them. I would start my own draft at the same time as they did, composing “live” on the classroom projector, and doing a lot of thinking out loud so they could see all the decisions a writer has to make.

The most helpful parts for them to observe were the early drafting stage, where I just scratched out whatever came to me in messy, run-on sentences, and the revision stage, where I crossed things out, rearranged, and made tons of notes on my writing. I have seen over and over again how witnessing that process can really help to unlock a student’s understanding of how writing actually gets made.

A Narrative Writing Unit Plan

Before I get into these steps, I should note that there is no one right way to teach narrative writing, and plenty of accomplished teachers are doing it differently and getting great results. This just happens to be a process that has worked for me.

Step 1: Show Students That Stories Are Everywhere

Getting our students to tell stories should be easy. They hear and tell stories all the time. But when they actually have to put words on paper, they forget their storytelling abilities: They can’t think of a topic. They omit relevant details, but go on and on about irrelevant ones. Their dialogue is bland. They can’t figure out how to start. They can’t figure out how to end.

So the first step in getting good narrative writing from students is to help them see that they are already telling stories every day . They gather at lockers to talk about that thing that happened over the weekend. They sit at lunch and describe an argument they had with a sibling. Without even thinking about it, they begin sentences with “This one time…” and launch into stories about their earlier childhood experiences. Students are natural storytellers; learning how to do it well on paper is simply a matter of studying good models, then imitating what those writers do.

So start off the unit by getting students to tell their stories. In journal quick-writes, think-pair-shares, or by playing a game like Concentric Circles , prompt them to tell some of their own brief stories: A time they were embarrassed. A time they lost something. A time they didn’t get to do something they really wanted to do. By telling their own short anecdotes, they will grow more comfortable and confident in their storytelling abilities. They will also be generating a list of topic ideas. And by listening to the stories of their classmates, they will be adding onto that list and remembering more of their own stories.

And remember to tell some of your own. Besides being a good way to bond with students, sharing  your stories will help them see more possibilities for the ones they can tell.

Step 2: Study the Structure of a Story

Now that students have a good library of their own personal stories pulled into short-term memory, shift your focus to a more formal study of what a story looks like.

Use a diagram to show students a typical story arc like the one below. Then, using a simple story—like this Coca Cola commercial —fill out the story arc with the components from that story. Once students have seen this story mapped out, have them try it with another one, like a story you’ve read in class, a whole novel, or another short video.

writing a personal narrative 6th grade

Step 3: Introduce the Assignment

Up to this point, students have been immersed in storytelling. Now give them specific instructions for what they are going to do. Share your assignment rubric so they understand the criteria that will be used to evaluate them; it should be ready and transparent right from the beginning of the unit. As always, I recommend using a single point rubric for this.

Step 4: Read Models

Once the parameters of the assignment have been explained, have students read at least one model story, a mentor text that exemplifies the qualities you’re looking for. This should be a story on a topic your students can kind of relate to, something they could see themselves writing. For my narrative writing unit (see the end of this post), I wrote a story called “Frog” about a 13-year-old girl who finally gets to stay home alone, then finds a frog in her house and gets completely freaked out, which basically ruins the fun she was planning for the night.

They will be reading this model as writers, looking at how the author shaped the text for a purpose, so that they can use those same strategies in their own writing. Have them look at your rubric and find places in the model that illustrate the qualities listed in the rubric. Then have them complete a story arc for the model so they can see the underlying structure.

Ideally, your students will have already read lots of different stories to look to as models. If that isn’t the case, this list of narrative texts recommended by Cult of Pedagogy followers on Twitter would be a good place to browse for titles that might be right for your students. Keep in mind that we have not read most of these stories, so be sure to read them first before adopting them for classroom use.

writing a personal narrative 6th grade

Click the image above to view the full list of narrative texts recommended by Cult of Pedagogy followers on Twitter. If you have a suggestion for the list, please email us through our contact page.

Step 5: Story Mapping

At this point, students will need to decide what they are going to write about. If they are stuck for a topic, have them just pick something they can write about, even if it’s not the most captivating story in the world. A skilled writer could tell a great story about deciding what to have for lunch. If they are using the skills of narrative writing, the topic isn’t as important as the execution.

Have students complete a basic story arc for their chosen topic using a diagram like the one below. This will help them make sure that they actually have a story to tell, with an identifiable problem, a sequence of events that build to a climax, and some kind of resolution, where something is different by the end. Again, if you are writing with your students, this would be an important step to model for them with your own story-in-progress.

writing a personal narrative 6th grade

Step 6: Quick Drafts

Now, have students get their chosen story down on paper as quickly as possible: This could be basically a long paragraph that would read almost like a summary, but it would contain all the major parts of the story. Model this step with your own story, so they can see that you are not shooting for perfection in any way. What you want is a working draft, a starting point, something to build on for later, rather than a blank page (or screen) to stare at.

Step 7: Plan the Pacing

Now that the story has been born in raw form, students can begin to shape it. This would be a good time for a lesson on pacing, where students look at how writers expand some moments to create drama and shrink other moments so that the story doesn’t drag. Creating a diagram like the one below forces a writer to decide how much space to devote to all of the events in the story.

writing a personal narrative 6th grade

Before students write a full draft, have them plan out the events in their story with a pacing diagram, a visual representation of how much “space” each part of the story is going to take up.

Step 8: Long Drafts

With a good plan in hand, students can now slow down and write a proper draft, expanding the sections of their story that they plan to really draw out and adding in more of the details that they left out in the quick draft.

Step 9: Workshop

Once students have a decent rough draft—something that has a basic beginning, middle, and end, with some discernible rising action, a climax of some kind, and a resolution, you’re ready to shift into full-on workshop mode. I would do this for at least a week: Start class with a short mini-lesson on some aspect of narrative writing craft, then give students the rest of the period to write, conference with you, and collaborate with their peers. During that time, they should focus some of their attention on applying the skill they learned in the mini-lesson to their drafts, so they will improve a little bit every day.

Topics for mini-lessons can include:

  • How to weave exposition into your story so you don’t give readers an “information dump”
  • How to carefully select dialogue to create good scenes, rather than quoting everything in a conversation
  • How to punctuate and format dialogue so that it imitates the natural flow of a conversation
  • How to describe things using sensory details and figurative language; also,  what  to describe…students too often give lots of irrelevant detail
  • How to choose precise nouns and vivid verbs, use a variety of sentence lengths and structures, and add transitional words, phrases, and features to help the reader follow along
  • How to start, end, and title a story

Step 10: Final Revisions and Edits

As the unit nears its end, students should be shifting away from revision , in which they alter the content of a piece, toward editing , where they make smaller changes to the mechanics of the writing. Make sure students understand the difference between the two: They should not be correcting each other’s spelling and punctuation in the early stages of this process, when the focus should be on shaping a better story.

One of the most effective strategies for revision and editing is to have students read their stories out loud. In the early stages, this will reveal places where information is missing or things get confusing. Later, more read-alouds will help them immediately find missing words, unintentional repetitions, and sentences that just “sound weird.” So get your students to read their work out loud frequently. It also helps to print stories on paper: For some reason, seeing the words in print helps us notice things we didn’t see on the screen.

To get the most from peer review, where students read and comment on each other’s work, more modeling from you is essential: Pull up a sample piece of writing and show students how to give specific feedback that helps, rather than simply writing “good detail” or “needs more detail,” the two comments I saw exchanged most often on students’ peer-reviewed papers.

Step 11: Final Copies and Publication

Once revision and peer review are done, students will hand in their final copies. If you don’t want to get stuck with 100-plus papers to grade, consider using Catlin Tucker’s station rotation model , which keeps all the grading in class. And when you do return stories with your own feedback, try using Kristy Louden’s delayed grade strategy , where students don’t see their final grade until they have read your written feedback.

Beyond the standard hand-in-for-a-grade, consider other ways to have students publish their stories. Here are some options:

  • Stories could be published as individual pages on a collaborative website or blog.
  • Students could create illustrated e-books out of their stories.
  • Students could create a slideshow to accompany their stories and record them as digital storytelling videos. This could be done with a tool like Screencastify or Screencast-O-Matic .

So this is what worked for me. If you’ve struggled to get good stories from your students, try some or all of these techniques next time. I think you’ll find that all of your students have some pretty interesting stories to tell. Helping them tell their stories well is a gift that will serve them for many years after they leave your classroom. ♦

Want this unit ready-made?

If you’re a writing teacher in grades 7-12 and you’d like a classroom-ready unit like the one described above, including slideshow mini-lessons on 14 areas of narrative craft, a sample narrative piece, editable rubrics, and other supplemental materials to guide students through every stage of the process, take a look at my Narrative Writing unit . Just click on the image below and you’ll be taken to a page where you can read more and see a detailed preview of what’s included.

writing a personal narrative 6th grade

What to Read Next

writing a personal narrative 6th grade

Categories: Instruction , Podcast

Tags: English language arts , Grades 6-8 , Grades 9-12 , teaching strategies

50 Comments

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Wow, this is a wonderful guide! If my English teachers had taught this way, I’m sure I would have enjoyed narrative writing instead of dreading it. I’ll be able to use many of these suggestions when writing my blog! BrP

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Lst year I was so discouraged because the short stories looked like the quick drafts described in this article. I thought I had totally failed until I read this and realized I did not fai,l I just needed to complete the process. Thank you!

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I feel like you jumped in my head and connected my thoughts. I appreciate the time you took to stop and look closely at form. I really believe that student-writers should see all dimensions of narrative writing and be able to live in whichever style and voice they want for their work.

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Can’t thank you enough for this. So well curated that one can just follow it blindly and ace at teaching it. Thanks again!

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Great post! I especially liked your comments about reminding kids about the power of storytelling. My favourite podcasts and posts from you are always about how to do things in the classroom and I appreciate the research you do.

On a side note, the ice breakers are really handy. My kids know each other really well (rural community), and can tune out pretty quickly if there is nothing new to learn about their peers, but they like the games (and can remember where we stopped last time weeks later). I’ve started changing them up with ‘life questions’, so the editable version is great!

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I love writing with my students and loved this podcast! A fun extension to this narrative is to challenge students to write another story about the same event, but use the perspective of another “character” from the story. Books like Wonder (R.J. Palacio) and Wanderer (Sharon Creech) can model the concept for students.

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Thank you for your great efforts to reveal the practical writing strategies in layered details. As English is not my first language, I need listen to your podcast and read the text repeatedly so to fully understand. It’s worthy of the time for some great post like yours. I love sharing so I send the link to my English practice group that it can benefit more. I hope I could be able to give you some feedback later on.

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Thank you for helping me get to know better especially the techniques in writing narrative text. Im an English teacher for 5years but have little knowledge on writing. I hope you could feature techniques in writing news and fearute story. God bless and more power!

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Thank you for this! I am very interested in teaching a unit on personal narrative and this was an extremely helpful breakdown. As a current student teacher I am still unsure how to approach breaking down the structures of different genres of writing in a way that is helpful for me students but not too restrictive. The story mapping tools you provided really allowed me to think about this in a new way. Writing is such a powerful way to experience the world and more than anything I want my students to realize its power. Stories are how we make sense of the world and as an English teacher I feel obligated to give my students access to this particular skill.

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The power of story is unfathomable. There’s this NGO in India doing some great work in harnessing the power of storytelling and plots to brighten children’s lives and enlighten them with true knowledge. Check out Katha India here: http://bit.ly/KathaIndia

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Thank you so much for this. I did not go to college to become a writing professor, but due to restructuring in my department, I indeed am! This is a wonderful guide that I will use when teaching the narrative essay. I wonder if you have a similar guide for other modes such as descriptive, process, argument, etc.?

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Hey Melanie, Jenn does have another guide on writing! Check out A Step-by-Step Plan for Teaching Argumentative Writing .

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Hi, I am also wondering if there is a similar guide for descriptive writing in particular?

Hey Melanie, unfortunately Jenn doesn’t currently have a guide for descriptive writing. She’s always working on projects though, so she may get around to writing a unit like this in the future. You can always check her Teachers Pay Teachers page for an up-to-date list of materials she has available. Thanks!

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I want to write about the new character in my area

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That’s great! Let us know if you need any supports during your writing process!

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I absolutely adore this unit plan. I teach freshmen English at a low-income high school and wanted to find something to help my students find their voice. It is not often that I borrow material, but I borrowed and adapted all of it in the order that it is presented! It is cohesive, understandable, and fun. Thank you!!

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So glad to hear this, Nicole!

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Thanks sharing this post. My students often get confused between personal narratives and short stories. Whenever I ask them to write a short story, she share their own experiences and add a bit of fiction in it to make it interesting.

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Thank you! My students have loved this so far. I do have a question as to where the “Frog” story mentioned in Step 4 is. I could really use it! Thanks again.

This is great to hear, Emily! In Step 4, Jenn mentions that she wrote the “Frog” story for her narrative writing unit . Just scroll down the bottom of the post and you’ll see a link to the unit.

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I also cannot find the link to the short story “Frog”– any chance someone can send it or we can repost it?

This story was written for Jenn’s narrative writing unit. You can find a link to this unit in Step 4 or at the bottom of the article. Hope this helps.

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I cannot find the frog story mentioned. Could you please send the link.? Thank you

Hi Michelle,

The Frog story was written for Jenn’s narrative writing unit. There’s a link to this unit in Step 4 and at the bottom of the article.

Debbie- thanks for you reply… but there is no link to the story in step 4 or at the bottom of the page….

Hey Shawn, the frog story is part of Jenn’s narrative writing unit, which is available on her Teachers Pay Teachers site. The link Debbie is referring to at the bottom of this post will take you to her narrative writing unit and you would have to purchase that to gain access to the frog story. I hope this clears things up.

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Thank you so much for this resource! I’m a high school English teacher, and am currently teaching creative writing for the first time. I really do value your blog, podcast, and other resources, so I’m excited to use this unit. I’m a cyber school teacher, so clear, organized layout is important; and I spend a lot of time making sure my content is visually accessible for my students to process. Thanks for creating resources that are easy for us teachers to process and use.

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Do you have a lesson for Informative writing?

Hey Cari, Jenn has another unit on argumentative writing , but doesn’t have one yet on informative writing. She may develop one in the future so check back in sometime.

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I had the same question. Informational writing is so difficult to have a good strong unit in when you have so many different text structures to meet and need text-dependent writing tasks.

Creating an informational writing unit is still on Jenn’s long list of projects to get to, but in the meantime, if you haven’t already, check out When We All Teach Text Structures, Everyone Wins . It might help you out!

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This is a great lesson! It would be helpful to see a finished draft of the frog narrative arc. Students’ greatest challenge is transferring their ideas from the planner to a full draft. To see a full sample of how this arc was transformed into a complete narrative draft would be a powerful learning tool.

Hi Stacey! Jenn goes into more depth with the “Frog” lesson in her narrative writing unit – this is where you can find a sample of what a completed story arc might look. Also included is a draft of the narrative. If interested in checking out the unit and seeing a preview, just scroll down to the bottom of the post and click on the image. Hope this helps!

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Helped me learn for an entrance exam thanks very much

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Is the narrative writing lesson you talk about in https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/narrative-writing/

Also doable for elementary students you think, and if to what levels?

Love your work, Sincerely, Zanyar

Hey Zanyar,

It’s possible the unit would work with 4th and 5th graders, but Jenn definitely wouldn’t recommend going any younger. The main reason for this is that some of the mini-lessons in the unit could be challenging for students who are still concrete thinkers. You’d likely need to do some adjusting and scaffolding which could extend the unit beyond the 3 weeks. Having said that, I taught 1st grade and found the steps of the writing process, as described in the post, to be very similar. Of course learning targets/standards were different, but the process itself can be applied to any grade level (modeling writing, using mentor texts to study how stories work, planning the structure of the story, drafting, elaborating, etc.) Hope this helps!

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This has made my life so much easier. After teaching in different schools systems, from the American, to British to IB, one needs to identify the anchor standards and concepts, that are common between all these systems, to build well balanced thematic units. Just reading these steps gave me the guidance I needed to satisfy both the conceptual framework the schools ask for and the standards-based practice. Thank you Thank you.

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Would this work for teaching a first grader about narrative writing? I am also looking for a great book to use as a model for narrative writing. Veggie Monster is being used by his teacher and he isn’t connecting with this book in the least bit, so it isn’t having a positive impact. My fear is he will associate this with writing and I don’t want a negative association connected to such a beautiful process and experience. Any suggestions would be helpful.

Thank you for any information you can provide!

Although I think the materials in the actual narrative writing unit are really too advanced for a first grader, the general process that’s described in the blog post can still work really well.

I’m sorry your child isn’t connecting with The Night of the Veggie Monster. Try to keep in mind that the main reason this is used as a mentor text is because it models how a small moment story can be told in a big way. It’s filled with all kinds of wonderful text features that impact the meaning of the story – dialogue, description, bold text, speech bubbles, changes in text size, ellipses, zoomed in images, text placement, text shape, etc. All of these things will become mini-lessons throughout the unit. But there are lots of other wonderful mentor texts that your child might enjoy. My suggestion for an early writer, is to look for a small moment text, similar in structure, that zooms in on a problem that a first grader can relate to. In addition to the mentor texts that I found in this article , you might also want to check out Knuffle Bunny, Kitten’s First Full Moon, When Sophie Gets Angry Really Really Angry, and Whistle for Willie. Hope this helps!

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I saw this on Pinterest the other day while searching for examples of narritives units/lessons. I clicked on it because I always click on C.o.P stuff 🙂 And I wasn’t disapointed. I was intrigued by the connection of narratives to humanity–even if a student doesn’t identify as a writer, he/she certainly is human, right? I really liked this. THIS clicked with me.

A few days after I read the P.o.C post, I ventured on to YouTube for more ideas to help guide me with my 8th graders’ narrative writing this coming spring. And there was a TEDx video titled, “The Power of Personal Narrative” by J. Christan Jensen. I immediately remembered the line from the article above that associated storytelling with “power” and how it sets humans apart and if introduced and taught as such, it can be “extraordinary.”

I watched the video and to the suprise of my expectations, it was FANTASTIC. Between Jennifer’s post and the TEDx video ignited within me some major motivation and excitement to begin this unit.

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Thanks for sharing this with us! So glad that Jenn’s post paired with another text gave you some motivation and excitement. I’ll be sure to pass this on to Jenn!

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Thank you very much for this really helpful post! I really love the idea of helping our students understand that storytelling is powerful and then go on to teach them how to harness that power. That is the essence of teaching literature or writing at any level. However, I’m a little worried about telling students that whether a piece of writing is fact or fiction does not matter. It in fact matters a lot precisely because storytelling is powerful. Narratives can shape people’s views and get their emotions involved which would, in turn, motivate them to act on a certain matter, whether for good or for bad. A fictional narrative that is passed as factual could cause a lot of damage in the real world. I believe we should. I can see how helping students focus on writing the story rather than the truth of it all could help refine the needed skills without distractions. Nevertheless, would it not be prudent to teach our students to not just harness the power of storytelling but refrain from misusing it by pushing false narratives as factual? It is true that in reality, memoirs pass as factual while novels do as fictional while the opposite may be true for both cases. I am not too worried about novels passing as fictional. On the other hand, fictional narratives masquerading as factual are disconcerting and part of a phenomenon that needs to be fought against, not enhanced or condoned in education. This is especially true because memoirs are often used by powerful people to write/re-write history. I would really like to hear your opinion on this. Thanks a lot for a great post and a lot of helpful resources!

Thank you so much for this. Jenn and I had a chance to chat and we can see where you’re coming from. Jenn never meant to suggest that a person should pass off a piece of fictional writing as a true story. Good stories can be true, completely fictional, or based on a true story that’s mixed with some fiction – that part doesn’t really matter. However, what does matter is how a student labels their story. We think that could have been stated more clearly in the post , so Jenn decided to add a bit about this at the end of the 3rd paragraph in the section “A Note About Form: Personal Narrative or Short Story?” Thanks again for bringing this to our attention!

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You have no idea how much your page has helped me in so many ways. I am currently in my teaching credential program and there are times that I feel lost due to a lack of experience in the classroom. I’m so glad I came across your page! Thank you for sharing!

Thanks so much for letting us know-this means a whole lot!

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No, we’re sorry. Jenn actually gets this question fairly often. It’s something she considered doing at one point, but because she has so many other projects she’s working on, she’s just not gotten to it.

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I couldn’t find the story

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Hi, Duraiya. The “Frog” story is part of Jenn’s narrative writing unit, which is available on her Teachers Pay Teachers site. The link at the bottom of this post will take you to her narrative writing unit, which you can purchase to gain access to the story. I hope this helps!

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6th Grade Creative Writing: Personal Narratives Resources

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New York Times 2020 student personal narrative winners . Select the link and read examples of student winning narratives.

Examples of Personal Narratives

Reflection on food and identity, childhood. Useful to use with Henriquez,” Lunch” and Lahiri, “Rice.” For original See September 3, 2007 Issue https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/09/03/real-food

link to Anzaldua article

(WoR): Borderlands/ La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1987). Reflections on the author’s childhood and cultural background, mixed genres and languages, multiple arguments.

From Narrative of the Life of a Slave: Commentary on literacy, race, and slavery from the most well-known of slave narratives.

link to hurston article

(50E): Classic reflection on racial identity and race relations.

(MfW): Reflections on education and identity.

Link to Mairs article

(50E): Long meditation on living with disability.

(RA): Short and funny essay reflecting family, class and ethnicity, and television.

Short, funny essay about immigration, family, and place. Original at: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/04/18/map-quest:

(50E): Short essay about family, language, and perception.

Lyric essay about family, literacy, and trauma. Original at: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/personal-history/a-letter-to-my-mother-that-she-will-never-read

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15 Inspiring Personal Narrative Examples for Writers

Reveal a part of yourself in your essay.

writing a personal narrative 6th grade

Students start writing personal narratives at a young age, learning to use descriptive language to tell a story about their own experiences. Try sharing these personal narrative examples for elementary, middle, and high school to help them understand this essay form.

What is a personal narrative?

Think of a narrative essay like telling a story. Use descriptive language, and be sure you have a beginning, middle, and end. The essay should recount your personal experiences, including your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Learn more about personal narrative essays here:

  • What Is Narrative Writing, and How Do I Teach It in the Classroom?
  • Engaging Personal Narrative Ideas for Kids and Teens
  • Best Mentor Texts for Narrative Writing in Elementary School

Elementary School Personal Narrative Examples

In elementary school, personal narratives might be quite short, just a paragraph or two. The key is to encourage kids to embrace a personal style of writing, one that speaks in their own voice. Take a look at these elementary school personal narrative essay examples for inspiration.

The Horrible Day

“next i fell asleep in my cereal and my brother stole my toast”—anonymous student.

writing a personal narrative 6th grade

In this short personal narrative written by a 2nd grader, the author describes a bad day with lots of details and an informal tone. It’s a great model for your youngest writers.

Read the full essay: The Horrible Day at Thoughtful Learning

Keep an Eye on the Sky!

“as we made our way out to the field, my stomach slowly turned into a giant knot of fear.” —anonymous student.

Any student who dreads gym class will connect with this essay, which turns a challenge into a triumph. This narrative from Time for Kids is annotated, with highlighted details and tips to help kids write their own essay.

Read the full essay: Keep an Eye on the Sky! at Time for Kids

Grandpa, Chaz, and Me

“i really miss grandpa, and so does my brother, even though he never met him.” —cody, 4th grade student.

Written by a 4th grader, this essay relates the author’s loss of a grandfather at a very young age. Using simple, personal language, they tell a compelling story in a few short paragraphs.

Read the full essay: Grandpa, Chaz, and Me at Thoughtful Learning

Surviving an Embarrassing Situation

“i had made the shot in the wrong basket, giving the green shirts the win” —anonymous student.

writing a personal narrative 6th grade

Personal narratives tell a story, with a beginning, middle, and end. This annotated essay outlines those parts, making it easier for young writers to do the same in their own writing.

Read the full essay: Surviving an Embarrassing Situation at Sopris West Educational Services

“Do you have a friend who loves you?” —Kendra, 4th grade student

Writing about friends gives writers the chance to describe someone’s physical characteristics and personality. This 4th grade essay uses personal details to bring a beloved friend to life.

Read the full essay: Ann at Thoughtful Learning

Middle School Personal Narrative Examples

By middle school, personal narratives are longer and more involved, telling more detailed stories and experiences. These middle school personal narrative essay examples model strong writing skills for this age group.

“As thoughts of certain death run through my mind, the world appears a precious, treasured place.” —Amy, student

writing a personal narrative 6th grade

Describing an opportunity to overcome your worst fears makes an excellent personal narrative topic. The vivid descriptions of the landscape and the author’s feelings help the reader make a strong connection to the author.

Read the full essay: The Climb at Thoughtful Learning

The Best Friend Question

“i’ve often wondered, does not having a best friend make me defective” —blanche li, age 13, diablo vista middle school, danville, california.

When her Spanish teacher asked students for an essay describing their best friend, 13-year-old Blanche Li fell back on her standard story: that of a made-up person. Here, she explains why she made up “Haley” and wonders what having an imaginary best friend says about her.

Read the full essay: The Best Friend Question at The New York Times

The Racist Warehouse

“i didn’t know racism was still around; i thought that situation had died along with dr. king.” —alicia, 8th grade student.

Strong personal narratives often relate the way the author learned an important life lesson. Here, an 8th grader describes her first experience with racism, in an essay that will sadly ring true with many readers.

Read the full essay: The Racist Warehouse at Thoughtful Teaching

“For the first time, we realized that we didn’t know how to express our voice, and we always suppressed it.” —Jocelyn C., 7th grade student, Texas

writing a personal narrative 6th grade

Seventh-grader Jocelyn C. describes the unique experience of spending two years living in an RV with her family, traveling the country. She relates the ups and downs of their trip, illustrating the way her family learned to live together in close quarters and embrace the adventure.

Read the full essay: RV Journey at Write From the Heart

An Eight Pound Rival

“i’m trying to accept that he didn’t mean to dominate the center stage all the time, that’s just one of the many lovable assets of his personality.”.

A new sibling can change everything in a family, especially when you’ve always been the baby. This middle schooler explains her challenging relationship with a little brother that she loves, even when he drives her a bit crazy. (Find this essay on page 42 at the link.)

Read the full essay: An Eight Pound Rival at Teaching That Makes Sense

High School Personal Narrative Examples

High school students have more complex stories to tell, though they’re sometimes reluctant to do so. Reading personal narrative essay examples like these can encourage them to open up and get their thoughts, feelings, and ideas down on the page.

Sorry, Wrong Number

“when i received the first text, i was a playful sixth grader, always finding sly ways to be subversive in school and with friends.” —michelle ahn, high school student.

writing a personal narrative 6th grade

When Michelle Ahn was 11, she started getting texts for a wrong number, a man named Jared. Rather than correcting the error, she spends the next few years occasionally engaging with his texters as “Jared,” learning more about him. Though she finally comes clean, her time as “Jared” exposes her to a way of life very different from her own, and opens her eyes to the inner lives of others.

Read the full essay: Sorry, Wrong Number at The New York Times

Caught in the Net

“little does everyone else know how often i’m not doing school research or paper writing; instead i’m aimlessly writing emails or chatting with internet friends and family hundreds of miles away.” —kim, college student.

Even before social media and smartphones swept the world, internet addiction had become a problem. Here, a student shares her experiences in AOL chat rooms, meeting people from around the globe. Eventually, she realizes she’s sacrificing life in the real world for her digital friends and experiences, and works to find the right balance.

Read the full essay: Caught in the Net at Thoughtful Learning

Nothing Extraordinary

“an uneasy feeling started to settle in my chest. i tried to push it out, but once it took root it refused to be yanked up and tossed away.” —jeniffer kim, high school student.

During an ordinary shopping trip, high schooler Jenniffer Kim suddenly realizes she’s ashamed of her mother. At the same time, she recognizes all the sacrifices her mom has made for her, and gladly takes the chance to make a tiny sacrifice of her own.

Read the full essay: Nothing Extraordinary at The New York Times

The Pot Calling the Kettle Black

“at this point in life, i had not yet learned to be gentle with myself, or others.” —anonymous student.

writing a personal narrative 6th grade

A teen who lives with bipolar disorder recounts a difficult conversation with her parents, in which her mother dismisses her as “crazy.” A few years later, this same teen finds herself in the emergency room, where her mother has just tried to die by suicide. “Crazy!” the daughter thinks. After her mother also receives a bipolar disorder diagnosis, the author concludes, “‘Crazy’ is a term devised to dismiss people.”

Read the full essay: The Pot Calling the Kettle Black at Pressbooks

What a Black Woman Wishes Her Adoptive White Parents Knew

“i know that i am different, but do not have the words to understand how.” —mariama lockington.

Though not written by a high schooler, this essay by Mariama Lockington makes an excellent mentor text for this age group. Lockington dives deep into her feelings about being adopted by parents of a different race, and shares her challenges in poignant language that speaks directly to the reader.

Read the full essay: What a Black Woman Wishes Her Adoptive White Parents Knew at Buzzfeed News

Do you use personal narrative examples as mentor texts in your classroom? Come share your experiences and ask for advice in the We Are Teachers HELPLINE group on Facebook !

Plus, strong persuasive writing examples (essays, speeches, ads, and more) ..

Find stirring personal narrative examples for elementary, middle school, and high school students on an array of topics.

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Telling the Story of Yourself: 6 Steps to Writing Personal Narratives

Jennifer Xue

Jennifer Xue

writing personal narratives

Table of Contents

Why do we write personal narratives, 6 guidelines for writing personal narrative essays, inspiring personal narratives, examples of personal narrative essays, tell your story.

First off, you might be wondering: what is a personal narrative? In short, personal narratives are stories we tell about ourselves that focus on our growth, lessons learned, and reflections on our experiences.

From stories about inspirational figures we heard as children to any essay, article, or exercise where we're asked to express opinions on a situation, thing, or individual—personal narratives are everywhere.

According to Psychology Today, personal narratives allow authors to feel and release pains, while savouring moments of strength and resilience. Such emotions provide an avenue for both authors and readers to connect while supporting healing in the process.

That all sounds great. But when it comes to putting the words down on paper, we often end up with a list of experiences and no real structure to tie them together.

In this article, we'll discuss what a personal narrative essay is further, learn the 6 steps to writing one, and look at some examples of great personal narratives.

As readers, we're fascinated by memoirs, autobiographies, and long-form personal narrative articles, as they provide a glimpse into the authors' thought processes, ideas, and feelings. But you don't have to be writing your whole life story to create a personal narrative.

You might be a student writing an admissions essay , or be trying to tell your professional story in a cover letter. Regardless of your purpose, your narrative will focus on personal growth, reflections, and lessons.

Personal narratives help us connect with other people's stories due to their easy-to-digest format and because humans are empathising creatures.

We can better understand how others feel and think when we were told stories that allow us to see the world from their perspectives. The author's "I think" and "I feel" instantaneously become ours, as the brain doesn't know whether what we read is real or imaginary.

In her best-selling book Wired for Story, Lisa Cron explains that the human brain craves tales as it's hard-wired through evolution to learn what happens next. Since the brain doesn't know whether what you are reading is actual or not, we can register the moral of the story cognitively and affectively.

In academia, a narrative essay tells a story which is experiential, anecdotal, or personal. It allows the author to creatively express their thoughts, feelings, ideas, and opinions. Its length can be anywhere from a few paragraphs to hundreds of pages.

Outside of academia, personal narratives are known as a form of journalism or non-fiction works called "narrative journalism." Even highly prestigious publications like the New York Times and Time magazine have sections dedicated to personal narratives. The New Yorke is a magazine dedicated solely to this genre.

The New York Times holds personal narrative essay contests. The winners are selected because they:

had a clear narrative arc with a conflict and a main character who changed in some way. They artfully balanced the action of the story with reflection on what it meant to the writer. They took risks, like including dialogue or playing with punctuation, sentence structure and word choice to develop a strong voice. And, perhaps most important, they focused on a specific moment or theme – a conversation, a trip to the mall, a speech tournament, a hospital visit – instead of trying to sum up the writer’s life in 600 words.

In a nutshell, a personal narrative can cover any reflective and contemplative subject with a strong voice and a unique perspective, including uncommon private values. It's written in first person and the story encompasses a specific moment in time worthy of a discussion.

Writing a personal narrative essay involves both objectivity and subjectivity. You'll need to be objective enough to recognise the importance of an event or a situation to explore and write about. On the other hand, you must be subjective enough to inject private thoughts and feelings to make your point.

With personal narratives, you are both the muse and the creator – you have control over how your story is told. However, like any other type of writing, it comes with guidelines.

1. Write Your Personal Narrative as a Story

As a story, it must include an introduction, characters, plot, setting, climax, anti-climax (if any), and conclusion. Another way to approach it is by structuring it with an introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction should set the tone, while the body should focus on the key point(s) you want to get across. The conclusion can tell the reader what lessons you have learned from the story you've just told.

2. Give Your Personal Narrative a Clear Purpose

Your narrative essay should reflect your unique perspective on life. This is a lot harder than it sounds. You need to establish your perspective, the key things you want your reader to take away, and your tone of voice. It's a good idea to have a set purpose in mind for the narrative before you start writing.

Let's say you want to write about how you manage depression without taking any medicine. This could go in any number of ways, but isolating a purpose will help you focus your writing and choose which stories to tell. Are you advocating for a holistic approach, or do you want to describe your emotional experience for people thinking of trying it?

Having this focus will allow you to put your own unique take on what you did (and didn't do, if applicable), what changed you, and the lessons learned along the way.

3. Show, Don't Tell

It's a narration, so the narrative should show readers what happened, instead of telling them. As well as being a storyteller, the author should take part as one of the characters. Keep this in mind when writing, as the way you shape your perspective can have a big impact on how your reader sees your overarching plot. Don't slip into just explaining everything that happened because it happened to you. Show your reader with action.

dialogue tags

You can check for instances of telling rather than showing with ProWritingAid. For example, instead of:

"You never let me do anything!" I cried disdainfully.
"You never let me do anything!" To this day, my mother swears that the glare I levelled at her as I spat those words out could have soured milk.

Using ProWritingAid will help you find these instances in your manuscript and edit them without spending hours trawling through your work yourself.

4. Use "I," But Don't Overuse It

You, the author, take ownership of the story, so the first person pronoun "I" is used throughout. However, you shouldn't overuse it, as it'd make it sound too self-centred and redundant.

ProWritingAid can also help you here – the Style Report will tell you if you've started too many sentences with "I", and show you how to introduce more variation in your writing.

5. Pay Attention to Tenses

Tense is key to understanding. Personal narratives mostly tell the story of events that happened in the past, so many authors choose to use the past tense. This helps separate out your current, narrating voice and your past self who you are narrating. If you're writing in the present tense, make sure that you keep it consistent throughout.

tenses in narratives

6. Make Your Conclusion Satisfying

Satisfy your readers by giving them an unforgettable closing scene. The body of the narration should build up the plot to climax. This doesn't have to be something incredible or shocking, just something that helps give an interesting take on your story.

The takeaways or the lessons learned should be written without lecturing. Whenever possible, continue to show rather than tell. Don't say what you learned, narrate what you do differently now. This will help the moral of your story shine through without being too preachy.

GoodReads is a great starting point for selecting read-worthy personal narrative books. Here are five of my favourites.

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen, the author of 386 books, wrote this poetic story about a daughter and her father who went owling. Instead of learning about owls, Yolen invites readers to contemplate the meaning of gentleness and hope.

Night by Elie Wiesel

Elie Wiesel was a teenager when he and his family were sent to Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944. This Holocaust memoir has a strong message that such horrific events should never be repeated.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

This classic is a must-read by young and old alike. It's a remarkable diary by a 13-year-old Jewish girl who hid inside a secret annexe of an old building during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in 1942.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

This is a personal narrative written by a brave author renowned for her clarity, passion, and honesty. Didion shares how in December 2003, she lost her husband of 40 years to a massive heart attack and dealt with the acute illness of her only daughter. She speaks about grief, memories, illness, and hope.

Educated by Tara Westover

Author Tara Westover was raised by survivalist parents. She didn't go to school until 17 years of age, which later took her to Harvard and Cambridge. It's a story about the struggle for quest for knowledge and self-reinvention.

Narrative and personal narrative journalism are gaining more popularity these days. You can find distinguished personal narratives all over the web.

Curating the best of the best of personal narratives and narrative essays from all over the web. Some are award-winning articles.

Narratively

Long-form writing to celebrate humanity through storytelling. It publishes personal narrative essays written to provoke, inspire, and reflect, touching lesser-known and overlooked subjects.

Narrative Magazine

It publishes non,fiction narratives, poetry, and fiction. Among its contributors is Frank Conroy, the author of Stop-Time , a memoir that has never been out of print since 1967.

Thought Catalog

Aimed at Generation Z, it publishes personal narrative essays on self-improvement, family, friendship, romance, and others.

Personal narratives will continue to be popular as our brains are wired for stories. We love reading about others and telling stories of ourselves, as they bring satisfaction and a better understanding of the world around us.

Personal narratives make us better humans. Enjoy telling yours!

writing a personal narrative 6th grade

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Jennifer Xue is an award-winning e-book author with 2,500+ articles and 100+ e-books/reports published under her belt. She also taught 50+ college-level essay and paper writing classes. Her byline has appeared in Forbes, Fortune, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Business.com, Business2Community, Addicted2Success, Good Men Project, and others. Her blog is JenniferXue.com. Follow her on Twitter @jenxuewrites].

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40 Impressive Personal Narrative Examples in Children’s Books

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Build empathy by reading personal narrative examples in children’s books , including picture books and middle grade books . In other words, read someone’s authentic memoir based on their life experience. And see how it gives you empathy as you walk in that person’s shoes. (It will also help you become a better personal narrative writer!)

Choose from these picture book and middle-grade book mentor text examples to show your growing writers examples of good personal narrative mentor texts with sensory details, vivid verbs, small moments, and organization. Share with your writers how these personal narrative examples are written with sensory details to show experience and authority.

NOTE: I’m listing children’s books that are not personal narratives per se but still can be used as personal narrative examples. I’m doing this so you have a bigger list of choices to find good books that appeal to your writers and model skillful writing.

If you’re teaching personal narrative, it’s worth reading adult memoirs like Anne Laaott’s Bird by Bird , Jeannee Wall’s The Glass Castle , or Suleika Jaouad’s Between to Kingdoms . (Three of my favorite books of all time.)

Impressive Personal Narrative Examples in Children's Books

Here are my favorite children’s memoir books to share with growing writers who want to write a personal narrative or memoir. Starting with a mentor text of sample writing will make your students’ writing stronger. That’s what I recommend that works for me in my writing workshops for children.

Picture Books: Personal Narrative Examples

writing a personal narrative 6th grade

Palace of Books  by Patricia Polacco Fans of Polacco’s books will enjoy this personal narrative story of her moving from the farm to a town where she starts school. Patricia discovers the library and the library’s collection of bird artwork from John Audubon. Not only does she fall in love with the library, but drawing her own bird pictures as well.

personal narrative examples

My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World  by Malcolm Mitchell, illustrated by Michael Robertson Henley finds reading hard — and when his teacher gives the class an assignment to find their favorite book in the whole wide world, he struggles to find anything that he doesn’t hate. After asking his librarian and bookstore owner for help unsuccessfully, his mom helps him realize that inside he has his own story.  What he brings to school, his favorite book in the world–is a story that he writes about himself!  Use this as a personal narrative example.

writing a personal narrative 6th grade

Priya Dreams of Marigolds and Masala  by Meenal Patel An irresistible sensory experience of India with vivid descriptions ! When Priya helps her Babi Ba cook rotli, her Babi Ba shares her memories of India… the smell of roasted cumin and masala, the sound of motorbikes whizzing by, the taste of a steaming cup of cha, the feel of the hot sun on your face, views of arches and domes of the buildings, rainbow of saris, and brightly colored marigolds. I adore the writing, the illustrations, and the story that celebrates India’s culture and their grandparent-grandchild relationship.

writing a personal narrative 6th grade

Finding My Dance  by Ria Thundercloud, illustrated by Kalila J. Fuller Ria loves dancing — and starts dancing as a child in a powwow.  As her love of dancing grows, she learns different styles and becomes a professional dancer, and travels all over the world.

writing a personal narrative 6th grade

Alma and How She Got Her Name  by Juana Martinez-Neal Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose Pura Candela thinks her name is too long …until her father explains about each person she was named for — like Esperanza, Alma’s great-grandmother who hoped to travel.  This helps Alma make a personal connection to each person she’s named after.

Middle-Grade Books: Personal Narrative Examples

writing a personal narrative 6th grade

Knucklehead Tall Tales & Mostly True Stories of Growing Up Scieszka by Jon Scieszka Growing up Scieszka was a WILD time. There’s quite a bit of potty humor in Scieszka’s hilarious musings on his childhood, but the writing is excellent and captures personal narrative in short, digestible stories.

writing a personal narrative 6th grade

Lawn Boy  by Gary Paulsen It’s summer vacation and  our 12-year-old narrator needs to earn money.  Which he does by starting a lawn mowing business. Not only that, he learns about investing his money and makes a lot more money than he could have imagined. Fictional but reads like personal narrative examples.

writing a personal narrative 6th grade

I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day The author of this book skillfully crafts a heartfelt story about growing up, family, and finding your identity in the context of adoption, the historical maltreatment of Native Americans, and the mystery of your own heritage.  Edie’s mom is an adopted Native American who can’t trace her heritage. When Edie unexpectedly finds a box of photos and letters from the woman she suspects was her mom’s birth mother, it prompts a journey to discover the truth of her heritage. And the truth is not what she expects but it opens her eyes (and ours.)

writing a personal narrative 6th grade

Inside Out & Back Again  by Thanhha Lai ( VERSE ) In this personal narrative memoir,  Thanhha reveals the overwhelm of immigrating from Vietnam to the American South in the 1970s, a completely different culture and language.  Despite feeling turned inside out, Hà resiliently figures out life in the U.S., despite the many challenges she faces. I loved this book –it’s written with such an authentic voice . Plus, it gives readers a first-hand look at an immigrant experience. Winner of the National Book Award and Newbery Honor.

writing a personal narrative 6th grade

Brown Girl Dreaming  by Jacqueline Woodson ( VERSE ) Written in verse, this is the author’s life story about  growing up as an African-American girl in the South and the North during the Civil Rights movement.  It’s a powerful introduction to this time period and the issues of race in the United States since it’s told through the eyes of a child. National Book Award finalist.

writing a personal narrative 6th grade

For Black Girls Like Me  by Mariama J. Lockington Just like the author’s own experience as an adoptee,  it’s hard for Makeda to be a black adopted girl in a white family  that she loves but doesn’t feel like she fits– or is even seen. But there are even more challenges for Makeda these days, starting with being the little sister to a newly-distant teenager, moving to a new town away from her BFF, having parents who constantly fight, and watching her mom’s mental health deteriorate and blaming herself. After her mom’s mania takes them on a trip to Colorado which abruptly nose dives into severe depression and a suicide attempt, Makeda reaches out for help.

Personal Narrative Mentor Texts for Teaching Writing

The Last Cherry Blossom  by Kathleen Burkinshaw (ages 11+) In this beautifully written, eye-opening story, we follow the life of Yuriko,  a Japanese girl who lives in Hiroshima during World War II.  Initially, her life revolves around drama with her family and friends, just like a typical child’s life in any country. But, in this recounting of Burkinshaw’s mother’s actual experience, her life is torn apart when the atomic bomb is dropped. Not to mention that it comes as a shock to learn that Japan has been losing the war. Yuriko’s life becomes a nightmare of survival and endurance.

writing a personal narrative 6th grade

Family Style by Thien Pham ages 12+ In Thien Pham‘s immigration story, he begins with his life in a refugee camp where he played and watched his parents be entrepreneurial. When they immigrate to the US, he learns English slowly and makes friends as he watches his parents be entrepreneurial by starting their own bakery after working hourly jobs. When he is an adult, Thien becomes a citizen to vote. I love how the earthy color palette and gorgeous illustration style help to narrate Pham’s personal memoir.

Read personal narrative examples in children's books, including picture books and middle grade books. In other words, read someone's authentic memoir based on their life experience.

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Mentor Text Book Lists

Books to Teach Description

Writing Prompts for Kids

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Melissa Taylor, MA, is the creator of Imagination Soup. She's a mother, former teacher & literacy trainer, and freelance education writer. She writes Imagination Soup and freelances for publications online and in print, including Penguin Random House's Brightly website, USA Today Health, Adobe Education, Colorado Parent, and Parenting. She is passionate about matching kids with books that they'll love.

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Hello, I used your letter writing unit and loved it. The students were very involved in the unit. on the last page that I printed off, yoiu mention other units you have such as personal narrative, fictional narrative, informational and procedural. There is a link to SEE ALL THE WRITING UNITS. I have searched throughout your website and cannot find these links. I’d love to incorporate them into my lessons. Can you please send me the link to them as I am not having luck with my search.

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Free Printable Narrative Writing Worksheets for 6th Grade

Narrative Writing: Discover a vast collection of free printable Reading & Writing worksheets tailored for Grade 6 students, crafted by Quizizz to enhance their storytelling skills and creativity.

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Explore printable Narrative Writing worksheets for 6th Grade

Narrative Writing worksheets for Grade 6 are an essential tool for teachers looking to enhance their students' reading and writing skills. These worksheets provide a structured and engaging way for students to practice their narrative writing abilities, focusing on key elements such as plot development, character creation, and descriptive language. As Grade 6 students transition from writing simple paragraphs to more complex compositions, these worksheets serve as a valuable resource for teachers to guide their students through the process. By incorporating nonfiction writing exercises, students can also develop their research and critical thinking skills, making these worksheets a versatile and effective teaching tool. With the right selection of Narrative Writing worksheets for Grade 6, teachers can ensure their students' success in reading and writing.

Quizizz offers a comprehensive platform for teachers to access a wide variety of educational resources, including Narrative Writing worksheets for Grade 6. In addition to these worksheets, Quizizz also provides teachers with an extensive library of interactive quizzes and games that can be used to supplement their students' learning experience. These resources cover a diverse range of topics, including reading and writing, nonfiction writing, and other essential subjects for Grade 6 students. Teachers can easily integrate Quizizz into their lesson plans, allowing them to track student progress and provide targeted feedback to help their students excel. By utilizing Quizizz's extensive collection of worksheets and other educational resources, teachers can create a dynamic and engaging learning environment for their Grade 6 students.

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20 AVID Activities for Middle School

The pfi roller coaster, educating sex offenders: a school’s duty, 20 fun hand-tracing activities for kids, learning and teaching update, primary assembly: down’s syndrome awareness, how to become a google certified educator, 22 fun activities to create stunning thanksgiving placemats, 15 worthwhile entrepreneurial activities for students, cpd: a breakdown, powerful personal narrative writing guide for students and teachers.

writing a personal narrative 6th grade

Introduction

Personal narrative writing is a powerful way for students to express their experiences, thoughts, and emotions. A quality personal narrative conveys a strong message, captures the reader’s attention, and encourages them to reflect on their own experiences. This guide provides key insights, tips, and strategies for students and teachers to write compelling personal narratives that resonate with readers.

Key Elements of a Personal Narrative

1. Choose a meaningful story: A powerful personal narrative starts with choosing a significant experience or event that has shaped you in some way. These stories can range from accomplishing a milestone, overcoming adversity, or even everyday occurrences that have left a lasting impression.

2. Use first-person voice: Personal narratives are written from the perspective of the author – ‘I,’ ‘me,’ and ‘my’ are commonly used pronouns. This perspective allows the readers to immerse themselves in the story and connect emotionally.

3. Set the scene: The introduction should engage your readers and create curiosity around your story. Providing context, establishing an emotional connection, and introducing the central theme or conflict can make an opening impactful.

4. Show, don’t tell: Utilize descriptive language to paint vivid pictures of events, characters, and settings instead of simply informing readers about what transpired. Incorporating sensory details (sight, sound, taste, touch) enhances reader immersion.

5. Organize your thoughts: Smooth transitions between paragraphs are essential to maintain clarity and coherence throughout your narrative. To accomplish this, use chronological order or an outline to ensure your story follows a logical progression.

6. Develop characters: Show the motivations and emotions driving your characters’ actions by exploring their thoughts and opinions throughout your narrative. Providing depth to your characters makes them relatable to readers.

7. Reflect on lessons learned: An impactful personal narrative includes self-reflection—a lesson learned or growth experienced due to the events narrated. Highlighting this personal takeaway allows readers to gain insight into your perspective and connect with your story.

Teaching Tips

1. Encourage brainstorming: Allow students to explore multiple ideas before settling on a story. This brainstorming process helps students focus their narrative and ensures they select an experience truly meaningful to them.

2. Teach the importance of revision: Writing is an iterative process, and revisions are crucial in developing a polished and coherent narrative. Encourage students to revise their work multiple times and review it with fresh eyes to identify potential areas for improvement.

3. Provide feedback: Offer constructive feedback on students’ personal narratives throughout the writing process, focusing on both content and structure. Balance encouragement with concrete suggestions for refining their work.

4. Use mentor texts: Share excerpts or full-length personal narratives from professional writers or other students that exemplify strong narrative writing. Analyzing these examples can help students improve their own writing by understanding what techniques work well.

5. Offer peer review opportunities: Encourage collaboration and communication as students exchange drafts, discuss their stories, and provide each other with constructive feedback.

Implementing this powerful personal narrative writing guide in your classroom will empower students to skillfully articulate their experiences while fostering self-reflection and personal growth. For teachers, this guide provides practical strategies to support student success during the writing process while engaging meaningful conversations surrounding personal experiences, lessons learned, and emotional connections shared through storytelling.

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Composing An Excellent 6th Grade Narrative Essay

The best way to describe a narrative is that it tells a story. They can be made up of anecdotes, personal experience or someone else’s experience. Usually for students of the 6th grade level, the narrative essay is meant to be a personal narrative. The purpose is two-fold: to get the student thinking and to give the student experience in writing papers.

Characteristics of a Narrative Essay

  • Tells all parts of a story, giving enough detail for the reader to come to an understanding of the purpose
  • Should be written clearly from an obvious point of view
  • Should be an expression and creative display of the student’s writing
  • The use of first person is accepted

Where to Begin Writing

A 6th grader may need a detailed step-by-step plan to follow in order to accomplish this essay. This will help them stay on track and not forget any of the essential parts. Here is a plan to follow in writing a personal narrative:

  • Choose a good topic. This would be based on something from the student’s life. The essay will not only tell the story of what happened, it will also include the student’s analysis of the story.
  • Should highlight the writer’s creative skills in story-telling.
  • Should be able to help the reader connect in some way, to their own life experiences.
  • If given a prompt, the topic must fit the prompt. For example, it may be about a hardship that had to be overcome, or a way your life was changed, or something that made you view life on a different level.
  • Make sure the plot is manageable. It shouldn’t be something too long with many separate events involved. It should be narrowed down sufficiently.
  • Limit the number of characters or people who are introduced into the paper, so it doesn’t get bogged down with too many people.
  • The paper should exhibit vibrant details and yet give just enough room for the reader to use their imagination to fill in some of the gaps.
  • Stay as true to the original story as possible. Most personal narrative papers are meant to be non-fiction.
  • Make an outline of your school work and then use details and description to fill in each paragraph.
  • Briefly describe important characters. Identify antagonists and protagonists if necessary.
  • Describe the setting using vivid details.
  • Proofread and revise your essay.
“   Every writer, no matter how good he is with his first attempt should proofread his paper.  ” –  Donna Brians

This resource changes all old-fashioned cliches and boring techniques into new and original ways of writing. Like to come here for fresh ideas!

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  3. 6th GRADE NARRATIVE WRITING

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  4. Personal Narrative Writing

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VIDEO

  1. Writing, Personal Narrative Grade 2 PART 1

  2. Narrative Writing

  3. Narrative Writing

  4. E2E Narrative Revision Skill #1: Anticipating and Answering Readers’ Questions (“Add Details”)

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  6. Writing a Personal Narrative For 3rd-5th Graders

COMMENTS

  1. Narrative Writing Sample- Grade 6

    (Click image to download sample and feedback) Narrative Writing Grade 6 Sample Splash! Feedback for Improvement. What worked: There is a sense of story with a beginning, middle and end.; The word choice is often high level - slammed, sprinted, flopped, tranquil, glistened; Entertaining Beginning: There was a mix of sound, action and thought - the author established the setting - the pond on a ...

  2. 65 Engaging Personal Narrative Ideas for Kids and Teens

    By Jill Staake Sep 13, 2022 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.)

  3. Narrative Writing Unit

    PARKER'S 6TH GRADE L.A. CLASS Welcome to Narrative Writing! Objectives: By the end of this unit students will be able to: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.3.A

  4. 43 Narrative Writing Prompts for 6th Grade

    Narrative writing is a great way to help students take a break from more structured, academic writing, in order to reflect on their own thoughts or on things they've learned and experienced over time. Below, you'll find a list of narrative writing prompts to encourage your sixth graders to open up and write about things they typically might not.

  5. PDF Grades 6th-8th

    Grades 6th-8th Simply put, fictional narrative writing tells an invented story. The most essential elements in a fictional narrative story are: 1) An established plot, believable characters and a vivid setting. 2) An organized sequence of important events and a conclusion (usually 3-5 paragraphs long in all).

  6. A Step-by-Step Plan for Teaching Narrative Writing

    Step 2: Study the Structure of a Story. Now that students have a good library of their own personal stories pulled into short-term memory, shift your focus to a more formal study of what a story looks like. Use a diagram to show students a typical story arc like the one below.

  7. Search Printable 6th Grade Narrative Writing Worksheets

    Worksheet What's Your Story? Doing the Impossible Worksheet Novel Study: Esperanza Rising: Inspired by a True Story Worksheet 1 Browse Printable 6th Grade Narrative Writing Worksheets. Award winning educational materials designed to help kids succeed. Start for free now!

  8. Personal Narrative Prompts by Grade (K-12) » JournalBuddies.com

    Personal narrative writing gives students an opportunity to express themselves and to tell their own stories all while developing the critical writing skills that they need. And, get this— Personal narrative writing is also a skill that students begin working on as soon as they start school.

  9. PDF personal narrative grade 6

    Essential Knowledge. A personal narrative is personal writing that covers an event in the writer's life and notes the importance of the event. Good writers use planning, drafting, revising, and editing to produce a well developed, organized and vivid piece of writing. Vocabulary. Terms:

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  11. 6th Grade Creative Writing: Personal Narratives Resources

    Douglass, Frederick, "Learning to Read and Write" From Narrative of the Life of a Slave: Commentary on literacy, race, and slavery from the most well-known of slave narratives. Hurston, Zora Neale, "How it Feels to Be Colored Me" (50E): Classic reflection on racial identity and race relations. Lake-Thom, Robert G.,

  12. PDF Grade 6 Narrative Writing

    "I promise I'll take care of Sara." Sara was already outside. She was skipping across the front yard. Mom was watching us from the kitchen window. I felt like she was watching because she didn't trust me. I grabbed Sara's hand so Mom could see I was being responsible. "Are you excited for your first day of school, Sara?"

  13. 15 Inspiring Personal Narrative Examples for Writers

    Students start writing personal narratives at a young age, learning to use descriptive language to tell a story about their own experiences. Try sharing these personal narrative examples for elementary, middle, and high school to help them understand this essay form. ... This 4th grade essay uses personal details to bring a beloved friend to ...

  14. Narrative Writing Rubric for 6th grade

    Narrative Writing Rubric for 6th grade Assess your students' narrative writing skills with this standards-based Narrative Writing Rubric for 6th grade. This helpful rubric covers the major standards in sixth-grade narrative writing, including organization, technique, transitions, style, and conclusion.

  15. PDF Narrative Writing Self-Assessment Checklist Grade 6

    (W.6.3b) I wrote my story in such a way that readers could picture the actions, thoughts, and feelings of my characters. I used narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, and description to develop experiences, events and characters. (W.6.3d) I included precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details and sensory language to convey

  16. How to Write a Personal Narrative: Steps and Examples

    6 Guidelines for Writing Personal Narrative Essays Inspiring Personal Narratives Examples of Personal Narrative Essays Tell Your Story First off, you might be wondering: what is a personal narrative? In short, personal narratives are stories we tell about ourselves that focus on our growth, lessons learned, and reflections on our experiences.

  17. 100 Entertaining 6th Grade Writing Prompts

    Choose from 100 prompts, story starters, research topics, and poetry ideas to start the writing process in a sixth-grade classroom. Dictionary Thesaurus Sentences Grammar Vocabulary Usage Reading & Writing ... Personal narratives tell true stories in descriptive ways. Help sixth graders choose the best way to express themselves with these ...

  18. 40 Impressive Personal Narrative Examples in Children's Books

    Middle-Grade Books: Personal Narrative Examples . Genius Under the Table by Eugene Yelchin Growing up in Cold War Russia, Yevgeny's Jewish family is crowded into one room of an apartment housing many other families and a KBG spy, so he sleeps under the table -and draws under it, too. His mother works at the ballet and is obsessed with Baryshnikov and finding Yevgeny's talent — which ...

  19. Free Printable Narrative Writing Worksheets for 6th Grade

    Free Printable Narrative Writing Worksheets for 6th Grade Narrative Writing: Discover a vast collection of free printable Reading & Writing worksheets tailored for Grade 6 students, crafted by Quizizz to enhance their storytelling skills and creativity. grade 6 Narrative Writing Narrative Writing 17 Q 6th - 8th quick review - narrative writing 8 Q

  20. Powerful Personal Narrative Writing Guide for Students and Teachers

    1. Encourage brainstorming: Allow students to explore multiple ideas before settling on a story. This brainstorming process helps students focus their narrative and ensures they select an experience truly meaningful to them. 2. Teach the importance of revision: Writing is an iterative process, and revisions are crucial in developing a polished ...

  21. How To Write A Brilliant 6th Grade Narrative Essay

    Here is a plan to follow in writing a personal narrative: Choose a good topic. This would be based on something from the student's life. The essay will not only tell the story of what happened, it will also include the student's analysis of the story. Should highlight the writer's creative skills in story-telling.

  22. 6th Grade Writing Prompts

    Category 1: Adventure Whether it's a mysterious journey, a scientific discovery, or the voyage to find a lost cat, let these creative writing prompts take you further into adventure. Writers can use these prompts to imagine encounters with adversaries, kings, cats, and more. Identify an adventure or quest of interest for you and your classmates.

  23. 31 Great 6th Grade Journal Prompts & Writing Ideas

    37 Excellent Essay Topic for 6th Grade Students; 33 Awesome 6th Grade writing prompts; Personal Narrative Writing Prompts by Grade Level; 33 Expository Writing for Students; 6th Grade Writing Worksheets and Free Printable; I'm sure you young writers will love these ideas and resources. But, if they need even more inspiration, talk a look at…