One way I try to help students write a personal narrative is by using mentor texts (You can see my favorite mentor texts for launching writer's workshop here). Some lend themselves well to understanding small moments or seed ideas, while others lend themselves to writing a strong beginning, using dialogue, a satisfying ending, describing the setting or characters, or a combination of all of these things.
After launching our writer's workshop in the first few weeks of school, and we've got lots of ideas to write about in our writer's notebook, we need at actually choose something that will be perfect for our personal narrative.
At some point or another, I've used the books above, however, I usually use only 2-3 mentor texts throughout the unit, and keep referring back to what the author did, at specific points during our writing journey. Below are the ones I used most often, and how I use them.
One of my newest finds this year was Stella Tells Her Story...in a word AMAZING! It's about Stella, a second grader who is writing a personal narrative and going through the writing process. I don't read the entire story at once, though. We read the part of the story that shows Stella doing whatever we'll be doing that day.
The Leaving Morning, and Owl Moon. Both are small moment stories, and have beautiful details that lend themselves well to showing how students can really use their senses to describe what's going on around them.
Roller Coaster and Fireflies provide great examples of how the author captured a small moment in time, rather than an entire day.
Looking for a different mentor text? Check out my full list HERE.
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