Narrative writing is probably the most fun we have in fifth grade ELA class! Not surprising, right? Kids love to write stories and they are full of imaginative ideas just waiting to take flight. Well, some kids are and some need a nudge, or two.
Here are 5 ways to liven up the writing process and engage the writers in your class!
Begin with a read aloud! This allows students to hear some techniques authors can use to engage the reader. For example, humor, rhyme, repetition, or figurative language. It will also give them some vocabulary ideas and background knowledge on the subject they’ll be writing about. It’s a great way to get the juices flowing and start brainstorming ideas!
Have students do small group read alouds. Choose a leader/reader for each group, give them a picture book on the topic and have student lead the read alouds and discussions (read more about classroom discussions and accountable talk). If you have multiple copies of a book, each group can read the same text, which can be super helpful. Also, you may want to choose a reader who maybe struggles to read on grade level, but can experience success with a shorter book and in a small group.
Encourage the group to focus on things like vocabulary, figurative language, and writing style. Also, have students pay close attention to how the author begins the story, since beginnings can sometimes be tough for students. It is a great idea to have students model some of their writing on the book they use in these small groups. Some kids will lean on this help and others won’t pay it the same mind because their original ideas will be popping! Either way, I think you’ll be inspired by the writing you see! Also, it’s wonderful to see how the kids model their read aloud after yours! They really do pay attention to us! They imitate us so well!
Use fun graphic organizers for prewriting activities! For this particular writing assignment about Yetis, we used two organizers. First, we used a graphic organizer to develop the character. We spent about 20-30 minutes on this. Next, we used a map to plan the course of our story. We made sure our stories had good flow. I think it’s important to let students know, not ALL the information that they put on their character organizer will end up in the story, but some will and this will help with adding detail and interest to the narrative. Most kids spent about 20-30 minutes on the story map.
Play some music while the kids are working on their rough drafts! I like to reserve the music for this step in the process because this is when you really want the kids to focus. During earlier stages there are discussion going on so music would be a distraction, but during the rough draft, music works! I like classical, but any soft, calming music would work! The students enjoyed the music during the revising and editing as well.
Make publishing fun with some pretty paper or allow children to transform their stories into books! Whatever you choose, it’s always fun to publish on something other than loose leaf paper. It makes it feel like the special occasion that is should be and it’s the perfect way to share a final piece!