Narrative Nuts and Bolts

Author: Matthew Tidwell
Editor: Stephanie Nardei

Time: 1 - 2 class periods
2 hours

Copies of narratives from provided website

This lesson explains to students the structure of narrative writing. The students will now take what they have learned from the slide show and the stories they have read and compose their own narrative story based on an image of a child laborer.

Students will be able to:

  1. Identify the parts of a narrative story.

W-P6 Write a narrative or story that develops complex characters, plot structure, point of view and setting; organizes ideas in meaningful sequence; and includes sensory details and concrete language to advance the story line
PO 1 Write a first or third-person narrative or story

  • Develop a point of view
  • Present events in a logical order
  • Develop events that convey a unifying theme or tone
  • Include sensory details, concrete language and/or dialog
  • Use literary elements (e.g., plot, setting, character, theme)

Teacher Background

Resource Websites
Narrative Stories
Contains examples of students’ narrative stories: http://www.uen.org/utahlink/lp_res/clas5.5.4.html     

ARC Site
Archival Research Catalog: http://www.archives.gov/research_room/arc/index

Narrative Writing
Web English Teacher on Narrative Writing: http://www.webenglishteacher.com/narrative.html
The Writing Site on Narrative Writing: http://www.thewritingsite.org/resources/genre/narrative.asp
The Five Paragraph Essay http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Atrium/1437/narr.html
The Narrative Essay http://papyr.com/hypertextbooks/comp1/narrativ.htm
Write101.com http://www.write101.com/




1. Begin the lesson with a lecture on the components of a narrative story. Use this lecture as an opportunity for students to practice their note taking skills. The parts of a narrative story are:

  • Introduction or Orientation
    • The who, what, where and why of the story
    • Introduces the main character
    • Sets the scene—time and place
    • Presents a dramatic incident
  • Body of the story—the problem or complication
    • Develops conflict
    • Develops tension
  • Climax
    • The height of the tension
  • Resolution or conclusion
    • Provides a solution to the problem

2. Pass out examples of a narrative story. Examples of a narrative story can be found at the provided link. The teacher may want to use other examples that they deem necessary.

3. Read through each example with the students. Have students refer to their lecture notes and identify the parts of the narratives they have just read. It might be helpful to look at one specific story.

  • Ask students to identify the introduction and what information is given to the reader.
    • Who is the main character?
    • Where does this story take place?
  • Ask students to identify the parts of the body
    • What is the problem or main conflict of this story?
  • Ask students to identify the climax
    • What is the height of tension?
  • Ask students to identify the resolution
    • How is the problem resolved?

4. Review the writing process with the students. This is the same process they went through when composing their analysis of a Sandburg poem.

  • Brainstorm
  • Rough Draft
  • Editing
  • Final Draft

Introduce the next lesson. The students will take what they have learned in this lesson and create a narrative story of their own.

If applicable

Embedded Assessment
The assessment for this lesson will be seen in the completed narratives.


PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:

NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award


Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694

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Last update: March 7, 2007
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