23 September 2015

12 Books to Teach Personal Narrative

We've been working hard on writing personal narratives. It's hard business. Of all the writing genres we teach in second grade (narrative, informational, and opinion), I think personal narratives are the hardest to teach, and the hardest for students to write.
List of books to use with introducing and teaching personal narrative writing.
While personal narratives are challenging to teach, they're also one of my favorites because you get to see so much growth in students' writing. It's quite incredible, really.

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.
List of books to use with introducing and teaching personal narrative writing.
I also use 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.
List of books to use with introducing and teaching personal narrative writing.List of books to use with introducing and teaching personal narrative writing.
If students are struggling writing a small moment or seed idea, Roller Coaster and Fireflies provide great examples of how the author captured a small moment in time, rather than an entire day.
List of books to use with introducing and teaching personal narrative writing.List of books to use with introducing and teaching personal narrative writing.

Looking for a different mentor text? Check out my full list HERE.

Take a look at our personal narrative and small moment/seed idea anchor chart!
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1 comment:

  1. Dear Theresa,
    A teacher friend of mine saw your post and sent it to me. Thanks so much for featuring Stella Tells Her Story! It was a joy to write and it makes me so happy to imagine students happily writing with Stella by their side.
    Best to you and your wonderful students!
    Janiel Wagstaff

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