Teaching Narrative Writing Made Easy

Teaching writing can be tough.

Teaching writing to kids who only know a minimal amount of sight words and phonetic rules is even harder.

Teaching writing kids who are still learning to put "baby talk" behind them and use correct grammar is SUPER hard.

But I like it.

If you aren't super organized and willing to go slowly, teaching it can be hard. Sometimes stressful. Lots of times... exhausting.

Even the thought of teaching the writing process used to make my eye twitch.

If I've learned anything over all of these years of teaching, it's slow.down. The kids truly can turn out some pieces of fabulous writing.

I used to dread teaching writing. But now I look forward to it. Mostly because when they get it - it's huge. Fantastically rewarding. They're proud. I'm proud. A huge pat yourself on the back, kiss your brain, silent cheer moment - for both student and teacher. The end result is tangible and DISPLAYABLE.

Super Penguin to the rescue is the first fully planned piece of writing from my first graders each year. (We spend the first trimester working on writing complete sentences and a lot of group writes.) I have found that January is when most first graders are able to work through the planning and final draft of both expository and narrative writing.

In my opinion, the key to teaching writing is the planning.

This is what I have found works best for narrative writing:
Start with a Visual I have each student draw the aspects of their stories in a story box planner. I give them very detailed directions of what story elements should be in each box.

Turn the Visual into Complete Sentences The next day we take that drawing boxes pre-write and turn each visual/box into a complete sentence in their own writing boxes pre-write.

Transfer the Complete and Edited Sentences into a Final Draft After the kiddos have read and re-read their sentences to both themselves and a friend - checking for mistakes and fixing them - they transfer their complete sentences to a final draft.

I have found that using this technique consistently helps my students tremendously. They produce stories that we are both proud of!

If you are interested in finding out more about this lesson and how I teach the narrative writing process, check out the Super Penguin to the Rescue unit. It includes a more in depth description of the writing lesson instruction and what I do each day for the lesson/craftivity. If you are struggling with teaching narrative writing to the little ones, Super Penguin just might be able to rescue you! ;-)

If you have already purchased the pack, please re-download it so that you can get the more detailed writing lesson instructions that I've added.

I wanted to let all of my Australian teacher friends know I finally updated my Curriculum Year Planner and it now includes an Australian year planner for 2013 - just in time for your new school year!


Don't forget to enter the contest to win an iPad Mini, Kindle Fire HD, or Nook HD from Teacher's Notebook. We can enter daily until January 31st for a chance to win. Click {here} or the banner to the right.


  1. Oh my goodness, super penguin is ADORABLE!

  2. I can see why your students are proud of their stories. Those look very well written (thanks to their fabulous teacher:).
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

  3. Hi Trace,
    I love the healing powers one with the hurt flipper...so creative! I hope I don't get in trouble for calling you Trace...I have a good friend named Traci ( besides you ) and she even spells her name like you. You guys are soo cool. Anyway sometimes I call her that. It's just a sign of affection. <3 ya!

  4. This is SOOOO cute!! It would be great for my penguin unit I do in January :) Also - I would LOVE to get your 1st graders as my 2nd graders, if they can write like that before they come to me in 2nd!! ha!


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