Responding to narrative prompts and writing successful narrative papers is quite simple if you know the formula well. Being able to respond to narrative and expository prompts is huge in fourth grade. Please work with you child and their writing, the benefits are great and well worth the effort. Students will be working, mapping narrative stories and should have this map memorized.
Narrative map (Please note the color coding):
Introduction: The introduction is where the author welcomes the reader into the story. This is where the reader gets engaged or sets the story aside. The introduction answers many reporter questions (who, what, where, when, why, how) introducing the characters, the setting and at the very end establishing a clear problem.
Possible solution #1: This is where the characters state emotions and interact with one another to come up with a possible solution to solving the problem. Often writers find it easier to have a character state the possible solution. ** Note** each time you use quotations and a new person speaks, we skip to the next line on our paper.
Showing the characters implementing their plan is important as it adds action to the tale. If you simply tell the reader what is going on, they will lose interest. Use vivid descriptions, emotions, and action verbs. When you’re writing, play the name game with nouns and verbs but be careful not to overdo it. Here are some examples : Verb to run: He ran, he darted, he dashed, he sprinted. Noun, my dog: puppy, mutt, meat lips, barking buddy.
This is where the possible solution fails. This adds drama to your story and the reader isn’t quite sure at this point that everything will work out all right. Description and emotion are important to include here.
The pattern then repeats.
Possible solution #2
Showing the characters implementing possible solution #2
Failure of solution #2
The pattern repeats only this time the possible solution will succeed!
Possible solution #3
Showing the characters implementing possible solution #3 and succeeding!
Conclusion: This is the reflective piece of the paper. You can tell the reader about a lesson learned or about what finally happened to the dragon that hatched from the egg (the happily ever after) or the funny thing that came about from the experience. This wraps the story up and tells the reader that all is right in the world once more.
Link: Download a Narrative Map template Narrative Planning Frame
The following is a writing sample. It is color coded so you can see the transitions. This sample writing is an example of the expectations for successful writing in fourth grade for FCAT writes. This is an example of a story written to respond the prompt: We have all been somewhere with our families. Tell a story about a time when you went somewhere with your family.
Our Camping Adventure
It had been the perfect day at Rainbow Springs State Park. We canoed, we swam, Bobby had captured a cute baby turtle as we snorkeled through the crystal clear water, and I had worked up the courage to finally jump from the overhanging tree, on the rope swing, into the water. As the sky became a rosy tint with the setting sun, our dad grilled chicken the way we liked best and we chomped down on corn on the cob with butter dripping from our chins. I couldn’t stop yawning as I climbed into my cozy sleeping bag. I listened to the forest sounds as I drifted into sleep. “drip, plop, drip, plop, plop” a light rain began. It was nice to listen to it, all warm in my bed. The rain got heavier. From a deep sleep, I heard my mom talking to my pop.
“William, there is a hole in the tent. My bedding is soaking wet.” That woke me up.
“If there’s a hole in the tent,” I asked my parents, “where will we sleep?”
“We’ll be fine.” Dad assured me. “I’ll plug up this hole in no time and you can get back to sleep.” I trusted my dad completely. He was always fixing things. The interesting thing about my father is that he is very creative. My dad doesn’t need to have exactly the right part or tool to make something work again. Once he fixed my mom’s sewing machine with a piece from an old lawn mower.
I watched as my old man examined the rip in the tent. He seemed to be measuring it in his mind. I could just picture his thoughts racing through the possibilities as he rummaged through our supplies in the domed room. He eyed a loaf of bread for about ten seconds, a roll of duct tape, and then started rolling up his favorite “Super Dad” tee shirt. Everyone felt confident as he carefully pushed the material through the hole. When half of the shirt was though he pointed to his work, gave us all a big smile, and said, “Tah Dah, all fixed.” We cheered and clapped for good old dad.
As we were still clapping, the tent began to sag where my father had just finished his masterpiece. The rainwater had soaked through the shirt, making it heavy and it was now pulling down on the tent. To make matters worse, a steady stream of water was now flowing from the soggy shirt.
“We can’t sleep here.” Bobby complained as he started ringing water from his covers. “Where will we sleep?”
“I can make a comfy place to sleep in the car.” Mom declared. “You know it’s always fun to snuggle at the drive in theatre, why not do the same thing tonight?” We all shook our heads enthusiastically, happy to get out of the rain and into the nice dry car. “Mom is brilliant.” I thought as I watched her gather the pillows and blankets that were still dry, dash out to the vehicle and slip inside to make our resting places.
Soon, we saw the signal we had been waiting for. Mom flashed the headlights and we each took turns sprinting to the car to safety. Bobby and I were in the back. We would have to share the covers but we didn’t complain, we were so tired that any dry bed at this point would do. Dad tumbled into the car last. He would sleep in the driver’s seat with the back pushed all the way down and mom was next to him in the passenger’s seat. Cozy at last, we were a bit cramped, but we were dry and warm. The soft patter of the rain on the metal roof of the car soon had me passed out in dreamland.
For the second time that night I woke up to voices. “Mom, it’s so stuffy and hot in here.” Bobby whined.“I feel like I can’t breathe. Can’t you turn on the air conditioning or something?
“No dear,” Mom said sweetly. “If we were to run the car all night, the battery would run down and the car wouldn’t start in the morning. Besides that, we would be wasting a great deal of gas and it’s terrible for the planet. Just sleep without your covers on, lie really still, and try to get back to sleep.”
I knew just what Bobby was complaining about now because I could feel it. The windows were all fogged up, sweat was trickling down my face, and I felt like I really needed some fresh air.
“I can’t sleep either.” I whimpered.
My father declared. “This is unbearable; we can’t sleep in the car. It was a good idea Molly,” he said as he took my mother’s hand, “but there are just too many of us and it feels like an oven in here.”
Dad turned around in his seat, looked at us all wilted and sleepy, and put his finger up to his temple like he does when he’s thinking. “Let’s drive into town and find a hotel to stay at.” He announced. A big sigh escaped my lips. “Dad, you’re the best.” I told him.
My wonderful pop started up the car and we all scrambled to get into our seats and fasten our seatbelts. He turned on the headlights and we could see the sad remains of our broken down old tent in the woods.
“Don’t worry, we’ll come back tomorrow and clean it all up.” My dad assured us. “That tent was so old, your mother and I used to camp in it before either of you were born. We’ll get a new family tent that will keep us dry and cozy for many camping trips to come.”
As we drove into town, we saw a Great Western. All the lights were on and it seemed to be waiting to welcome us in from the rain. A woman with a friendly round face stood behind the counter. She smiled as she checked us in and handed my dad the key to our room. Then she picked up the little dog that had been down by her feet and wished us sweet dreams as we stumbled down the hallway towards our room.
We returned to Rainbow Springs the next day with a new tent and stayed for the rest of the week, having the best time ever. Mom and dad set the tent up really well and when it rained the next night we were safe and snug. Dad said he learned a lesson about being such a cheap skate. He admitted that mom had asked him to buy a new tent before our trip to Rainbow Springs but he had wanted to save money. He said if he had only listened to her in the first place, he could have saved more money by not needing to stay in a hotel. We laughed at that, I patted him on the back, and assured him that our adventure with the old tent in the rain had actually been a lot of fun and it had made our trip one I would never forget.