Prompts for Narrative Writing in Middle School


Many Middle School students have never written a narrative.  Luckily these prompts can help!

When I say "Narrative writing", my students just stare at me. They aren't sure what I really mean by that.  

In 8th grade, we work on the Hero's Journey and after we learn about it using diagrams and examples, then we ask the students to write their own Hero's Journey.

In 6th and 7th grade, we learned about plot using some notes, the plot diagram and some well-known stories like The Lion King (6th grade) and Seventh Grade (7th grade).

Then after this study, students were given a blank plot diagram and asked to plan their own story.  You would have thought that I had asked them to do something absolutely impossible.  There were groans and moans about what to write about.  All I heard was that there was "no way" they could possibly fill in an entire plot diagram.  It was too much writing!

I slowly came to realize that many students had never written a longer story before.  Never!  They were used to reading stories, not writing them!

So I asked them how these authors wrote the stories that we had just been studying. The students never really thought about it.  Some suggested these people were just "smart" or "creative" as if you had to have a special talent to write a story.

Of course, we talked about all it takes is one idea - that narrative writing can be about anything as long as it has the key story elements that we had been studying.  That wasn't enough to get them going.

Then I remembered a super great idea from when I was young.  I remember a teacher of mine had story strips in cans.  They said things like "Imagine you're a pirate whose ship has just run aground on a small island full of tigers."  They gave just enough of a spark to get the ideas flowing.  

So I asked my students for topics that they would be interested in writing about.  Then I made story strips and modeled how I would use one to build my story and create my plot diagram. Suddenly the gap between good reading and writing was bridged.

Get a FREE copy of my story strips in my Free Resource Library!


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