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Introduce: Personal Narrative

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Lesson Type: Introduce
Grade: 1, 2, 3
Group Size:
Length: 20 minutes
Goal: Given a personal narrative, students will understand its purpose and be able to recognize the elements common to texts of this type.

Materials: Board or chart paper, Personal Narrative Sample (print here), five index cards. Suggested reading: A Chair For My Mother by Vera B. Williams, Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco, Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant

What to Do


Copy the Personal Narrative Sample or a passage from the text you are using onto the board or chart paper. Label the five index cards as follows: Beginning, Middle, Details (there should be two of these cards), and End.


1. Explain the lesson.

Today we will be talking about narratives. A narrative tells a story. If it’s a personal narrative, who do you think the story is about?

Right, a personal narrative tells a true story of one person’s experience. First I’ll read you a personal narrative and then you’ll have a chance to share your own true story with a partner.

2. Read the Personal Narrative Sample or the textual passage you have chosen to the class.


3. Provide the students with a topic and direct them to tell a partner their own story.

The story that I just read was about a person’s experience. Think of a similar experience that you have had and share it with your partner.

You may want to time this so that both partners get a chance to tell their stories.

4. Explain the elements of a personal narrative.

As I listened to you telling your stories, I heard you using words like: I, my, me, and mine. You were telling your stories from the first-person point of view because it was something that happened to you. A personal narrative is always told from the first-person point of view.

Choose a student to come to the board or chart paper and put a circle around the first-person POV words (I, my, me, mine).

A personal narrative has a beginning, middle, and end. The beginning tells the topic of the story. It tells who and what the story is about. The middle tells about two or more things that happen in the story. We will call them events. The middle also includes at least one detail for each event to keep the reader interested. The end tells how the writer feels or how the problem was solved. Who can put the beginning index card next to the beginning of this personal narrative?

Repeat this for the remaining index cards (Middle, Details (2), and End).

5. Ask students to write down some details to support their story in a notebook or journal.

Now I’d like you to think about the story that you told to your partner. Think of some details that would help to make your story more interesting and write them down. What did you see? What did you hear? How did you feel? If there was a problem, how was it solved? Write down whatever you can think of.


For Advanced Students:

Encourage these students to write sentences that describe events as well as sentences that provide details about the events.

For Struggling Students:

Encourage these students to write any words that would help to describe their experiences. Accept one-word details and drawings from them.

For ELL Students:

Give these students index cards and have them arrange them in the appropriate order. Provide them with additional practice for first-person pronouns.

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