Lesson Plan - Get It!
What kinds of stories do you tell or hear at a campfire?
Have you ever been camping?
If you have, you probably have experienced campfire stories. The ones you heard may have been scary, or maybe they were experiences that those around the campfire had on different camping trips. Sharing personal experiences through writing is a form of writing called, “narrative writing.”
If you missed or need to review the previous Related Lessons in the Paragraphs series, find them in the right-hand sidebar.
In this lesson, you will write a paragraph to share a personal experience. The purpose of the paragraph is to entertain your audience. Your audience will be your family and friends that will read your narrative.
- Take out a piece of paper and a pencil.
- As you watch Narrative Paragraphs – Time4Writing.com, write down the four things the speaker says that a narrative paragraph must have:
What were the four things the speaker said that a narrative paragraph must have? They are:
- Have a topic sentence that grabs the reader’s attention.
- Build it around one main event, adventure, scene, or happening.
- Make sure it is written in chronological order.
- It must contain plenty of interesting details.
If you have heard any campfire stories or tall tales, then you know the beginning of the story is the most important part. Why is that? It is the most important part because it is that first sentence that makes your listener or reader decide whether they are going to listen to or read your story, or if it is going to be boring. A strong topic sentence that piques a person’s interest is vital.
The second thing a narrative paragraph needs is to be built around only one memory. You don’t want to ramble on about one story and then hop to another topic. Tell only about that one event.
The third thing is that your paragraph needs to be written in chronological order. That means you give the sequence of events in order from the first thing that happened until the last. Your writing must be organized in order for your reader to follow the story you are trying to share.
The last thing a narrative paragraph needs is to contain plenty of interesting details. After giving a strong topic sentence, you do not want to let your reader down by giving boring facts one-by-one until you are finished. You want to spice it up a bit and use as many descriptive words as you can to keep the reader’s interest.
The following is an example of a narrative paragraph. It is titled, "Totem Pole," written by A. Williams. Notice that she uses a lot of sensory details and descriptive language:
My grandparent's house was a magical place for me when I was a little girl. There was an amazing loft where I could spy down on my brothers, a smelly chicken coop to visit every morning to check for fresh eggs, a wonderful swing in a gigantic, old maple tree and a tall, black totem pole on the front steps. The totem pole had always fascinated me and I loved to stare into the blank eyes of the thunderbird at the top and wonder what he was thinking. I enjoyed running my small hands over the chiseled black wood and marveling that the carver had included details such as eyes, wings and even feathers. However, it was the thunderbird's nose that intrigued me the most. His long black beak stuck out from the totem pole and had two carved nostrils at the curved end. The nostrils were curious black holes that tempted me. One day I cautiously poked my finger into the thunderbird's nostril, not sure how far it would go. I suddenly felt a sharp sting and I screamed as I yanked my finger out. Not only had I poked my finger into the nose of the thunderbird, but also right into the back end of a bumble bee. Whenever I see the stately totem, now on my parents' front steps, I remember what a painful and embarrassing way it was for me to learn to "keep my fingers to myself".
- Has anyone ever told you a story that began as an exciting event, then became rather boring?
- How could you have helped him or her to make their story better?
- Have you ever read someone’s writing and the events seemed to be out of order?
In the Got It? section, you will help put a paragraph back into the right order.