Writing a Personal Narrative
What is a personal narrative?
Stories about a real event in a writer’s life True stories (non-fiction) An explanation about how the writer feels about an event and why it is important to him or her
Why write a personal narrative?
To tell an interesting or funny story about yourself To have your readers make connections with you To understand why this event was important to you
What do you need to think about before writing?
What will the story be about? Who will be in the story? What message will the story send?
Characteristics of a Personal Narrative
A good personal narrative… tells about an experience that happened to the writer. has details that tell how the writer felt. has a beginning, middle, and end. tells why the experience was special to the writer. uses the pronoun “I”.
How do you choose what event or experience to write about?
Ask yourself… Is there a particular holiday celebration or vacation that stands out? Was there a change in your life that has made a real difference? Is there a funny story about something that happened to you?
Example of a personal narrative
The Perfect Smile Writer’s Chart p. 4-5 Practice Companion p. 84
Respond to the story What did you like about this personal narrative?
Why do you think the author chose to write about this experience? For whom do you think the author wrote this personal narrative? How can you tell this a personal narrative?
Organization of Personal Narratives
Beginning When the writer was little, he sucked his thumb which caused his teeth to stick out at funny angles. Middle His teeth fell out and the new teeth came in at funny angles as well. End The author decided not to get braces because he liked his smile the way it was.
Now it’s your turn… Start thinking about the purpose of the personal narrative you will write. Who is your audience? Look at the Evaluation Rubric for a personal narrative on p. 85 in the Practice Companion to help you guide your writing.
Choosing a Topic Your topic should be about… one specific event.
real experiences that are important to you or taught you something. something you have strong feelings about. something your reader would be interested in reading about. something you are comfortable sharing with your readers.
List of Ideas to Include
Ask yourself… Who? What? When? Where? Why? What happened in the beginning? What happened in the middle? What happened in the end?
Time Order Words Be sure to clearly show the sequence of events.
Use words that help your writing flow smoothly and make sense. First At the beginning At the start To begin with Next Last
Descriptive Details Details that give the readers specific facts and examples to help them visualize the event. Bring the writer’s story “to life”. Add to the enjoyment of the story for your reader. What did I see? What did I hear? What did I smell? What did I touch? What did I taste?
Use YOUR voice Be sure you write to sound like yourself. Do not try to sound like someone else. This is a personal narrative about YOU!
Revise your Draft Make it express exactly what you want to say by…
adding words and details that express your ideas more clearly. deleting unnecessary words and details that are off topic or confusing. substituting words with others that express ideas more clearly. rearranging sentences or paragraphs so ideas flow more smoothly.
Develop Sentence Fluency
Use a variety of length of sentences to make it more interesting for your readers. Does my writing sound smooth as I listen to it? Use a variety of sentence kinds (declarative, question, exclamatory, and imperative). Did I use different kinds of sentences?
Author’s Chair Responses for the audience…
Begin by talking about what you found interesting. Then ask questions you have. Finally, tell what you liked best and why you liked it.
Proofreading for Errors
Spelling Capitalization Punctuation Grammar Practice Revising/Editing Editing Checklist
Final Presentation Is it neat and easy to read?
Does it include a title and a byline? Does your illustration help your readers understand your story?
Author’s Chair - Writers
Tell why you chose to write about your topic. Tell why your topic is important to you.
Author’s Chair - Audience
Begin by talking about what you thought was interesting or exciting about the writing. Then ask questions that you thought of as you listened to the reading. Finally, tell what you liked about the personal narrative and why you liked it.
Celebrate! We did it!
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