The Personal Narrative is a simple type of writing that has the following elements:


Beginning (introduce the characters, setting and the problem)

Middle (build up suspense with at least 3 complications, or, dramatic things that happen)

End (solution found and lesson learned)


Sensory Details (what you see, hear, touch, taste, and smell)

Figurative language (metaphors, similes, personification, onomatopoeia, alliteration, etc.)

Dialogue (conversation between people)

A dramatic moment (when the character learns something or doesn't)

Transition words

Vivid verbs and adjectives

Students will be learning each of these elements in class so that they may succeed in their standardized writing tests. Please emphasize to your child that this form of writing requires more than just writing down a list of things you did that day. The most common error (which results in many deducted points on the test) is that students write merely a chronology of events, showing they have no control over their subject matter.

The best way to review this concept with them is to read easy picture books, pointing out to them the beginning, middle and end as well as the climax, or, dramatic moment that results in the main character learning something.

Below is a sample of a typical weekly rubric. Bear in mind, however, that the content will slightly change according to what skill I am targeting that week.

Personal Narrative Rubric
2 sensory details
2 examples of thoughts or feelings
4 lines of dialogue
beginning, middle, end
title, name and date

Below is a blank form your child can use to type in an outline for any personal narrative assignments. Simply type it up, print it out and hand it in.

Below is an example of a personal narrative brainstorming activity. You can use the blank form attached to fill out.

Here is also a list that the students came up with in class of what to ALWAYS include in a personal narrative. We go over each element througout the year, reinforcing the elements within their own narratives.
Sensory details
Transition words
Complications (3)
Lesson learned (conclusion)
Vivid verbs
Good adjectives and adverbs
Good Spelling
No run-ons or sentence fragments
Sentence variety