Writing leads, planning stories, and revision strategies

During our historical fiction unit, we give students the opportunity to do a unique type of narrative writing.  They take a key "scene" from one of the books we have read (either as a read aloud or their book club novel) and rewrite a scene from a different character's point of view.  To really guide and scaffold their work, I wrote my own narrative from our read aloud as they wrote theirs, modeling each step of the process along the way.  I love that by having the storyline more established, students could focus on some of the other details involved in writing quality narratives.

Planning our Narratives

It was the perfect time for us to review some key narrative writing skills and strategies.  We did mini lessons on planning our draft (I LOVE using sticky notes for students to write "micro" events that flow...so easy to rearrange or remove), on working in sensory details, a review of dialogue strategies and techniques, and how to write a quality lead.  (The narrative planning tools and dialogue lessons can be found HERE if you are interested.)
Helping student with narrative writing is so important. Using prewriting and planning strategies paired with teacher modeling and writing lessons that stress description, writing dialogue, and story elements can help create great narratives.  Also key is teaching revision strategies that can help writers improve their writing.  Perfect for grade 3 writing, grade 4 writing, grade 5 writing, third grade writing, fourth grade writing, fifth grade writing, teaching narrative writing, writing lessons

Teaching Narrative Leads and Writing "Hooks"

Because our stories were already "planned" (thanks to the original author), we focused on how to get our reader hooked.  We studied the chapter beginnings of our current read aloud and found that each chapter had its own mini-lead--and that's what we tried to do to get our readers "hooked" into our narratives.
Helping student with narrative writing is so important. Using prewriting and planning strategies paired with teacher modeling and writing lessons that stress description, writing dialogue, and story elements can help create great narratives.  Also key is teaching revision strategies that can help writers improve their writing.  Perfect for grade 3 writing, grade 4 writing, grade 5 writing, third grade writing, fourth grade writing, fifth grade writing, teaching narrative writing, writing lessons, writing anchor charts

We used this anchor chart to help us generate ideas.  Everyone experimented with different leads and then chose their favorite one to begin their narrative.
Helping student with narrative writing is so important. Using prewriting and planning strategies paired with teacher modeling and writing lessons that stress description, writing dialogue, and story elements can help create great narratives.  Also key is teaching revision strategies that can help writers improve their writing.  Perfect for grade 3 writing, grade 4 writing, grade 5 writing, third grade writing, fourth grade writing, fifth grade writing, teaching narrative writing, writing lessons, writing anchor charts

Teaching Revision Strategies 

As students were working, I noticed that a few students were struggling to expand the events on their planning map despite the modeling I did.  I broke out one of my favorite revision strategies--color coding.  I pulled a small group of struggling students together with their drafts and their planning map.  I asked them to assign each box on their plan a color and then had them shade the sentences in their draft that matched. 

Students began to notice which "micro" events were well described and which were not.  Some started to notice details that weren't important and others that were out of sequence.  After studying their drafts and their color coding, all had a clear plan for revision when they returned to their desks.

Helping student with narrative writing is so important. Using prewriting and planning strategies paired with teacher modeling and writing lessons that stress description, writing dialogue, and story elements can help create great narratives.  Also key is teaching revision strategies that can help writers improve their writing.  Perfect for grade 3 writing, grade 4 writing, grade 5 writing, third grade writing, fourth grade writing, fifth grade writing, teaching narrative writing, writing lessons, writing anchor charts

Helping student with narrative writing is so important. Using prewriting and planning strategies paired with teacher modeling and writing lessons that stress description, writing dialogue, and story elements can help create great narratives.  Also key is teaching revision strategies that can help writers improve their writing.  Perfect for grade 3 writing, grade 4 writing, grade 5 writing, third grade writing, fourth grade writing, fifth grade writing, teaching narrative writing, writing lessons, writing anchor charts

Helping student with narrative writing is so important. Using prewriting and planning strategies paired with teacher modeling and writing lessons that stress description, writing dialogue, and story elements can help create great narratives.  Also key is teaching revision strategies that can help writers improve their writing.  Perfect for grade 3 writing, grade 4 writing, grade 5 writing, third grade writing, fourth grade writing, fifth grade writing, teaching narrative writing, writing lessons, writing anchor charts

I love that this strategy can be used with ANY type of writing...opinion essays, book reviews, narratives--whatever.  It is very visual and gives students a tangible starting place.  Struggling writers need to gather as many tools into their toolbox as possible, and I love that this one can be learned and practiced and used for the rest of their academic career.

Looking for some of these narrative resources?  They are bundled here...
Helping student with narrative writing is so important. Using prewriting and planning strategies paired with teacher modeling and writing lessons that stress description, writing dialogue, and story elements can help create great narratives.  Also key is teaching revision strategies that can help writers improve their writing.  Perfect for grade 3 writing, grade 4 writing, grade 5 writing, third grade writing, fourth grade writing, fifth grade writing, teaching narrative writing, writing lessons, writing anchor charts
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Helping student with narrative writing is so important. Using prewriting and planning strategies paired with teacher modeling and writing lessons that stress description, writing dialogue, and story elements can help create great narratives.  Also key is teaching revision strategies that can help writers improve their writing.  Perfect for grade 3 writing, grade 4 writing, grade 5 writing, third grade writing, fourth grade writing, fifth grade writing, teaching narrative writing, writing lessons, writing anchor charts

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