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Long Beach Students Master the Art of the Personal Narrative

Schools and Libraries

October 30, 2013


After completing a unit of study about personal narratives, fourth-graders at Lindell School invited their parents to share the fruits of their labors. Following a multi-stage writing process that included drafting, revising, peer-review and editing, the students were proud to debut their final published works in a gallery-style viewing that allowed parents to see the evolution of their writing from starting ideas to finished projects. Parents circulated around the room, reading all of the published pieces and leaving comments about each work.

            Students perfected the art of writing these compelling stories, taken from their own lives, by starting with a bold beginning, posing a question, expressing a feeling, or using action or dialogue to catch the reader's attention. As they developed their stories, they focused on content, building a narrative that expressed a clear and focused main idea in a fresh and original manner. Many of the seeds of these original stories came from the students' daily writer's notebook entries. Through the multi-stage writing process, they developed the skill to turn their ideas into finished products that would hold their readers' attention from the first sentence though the last word.

            In similar exercises in fourth-grade classrooms throughout the district, students have been mastering the art of the personal narrative. This is just one example of the work the district is doing to prepare students to meet the Common Core Learning Standards in English language arts.