Building Blocks of Narritive Writing

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Kate Stein

Our 2nd graders have been working hard on their story narratives by focusing on details and dialogue. There are a few techniques that I use that help break down the narrative process and make it enjoyable for every learner.


Making Pictures With Their Mind

First, we encourage students to experience the details and dialogue as I read stories to the class. I ask them to visualize the story the author was telling, without actually looking at the pictures. This makes students take time to focus on all the details and dialogue in the narratives. To take it a step further, as the students create their own narrative with the story, we read a text discussing where the students could add details to the author’s story. This allows the students to get creative and see how much descriptive detail is possible in writing! It opens their eyes to adding additional details and dialogue to what is already there can make the story more interesting and palpable.


Bringing Their Writing to Life

After working as a class, the students have their turn in writing. Students grab a partner and  create a plan with a graphic organizer, draw a quick picture, or complete a "five finger plan," where they recount events in chronological order with five fingers on one hand. 


From Plan to Feedback to Published

Once they have planned their story, they write their story. The students draft their story, making sure to focus on the three goals of: transitions, details, and dialogue. With their partner, the students will have a mini-conference where they ask their partner questions about the story (where it may be unclear) and discuss where they might be able to add in detail. This is a great lesson on giving and receiving feedback in 2nd grade. After they have fine-tuned and polished their essays, they get to publish their story on SeeSaw, take pictures of their writing, and record themselves reading it to connect parents at home to what they are writing about in class.

About the Author

Kate Stein is thrilled to be joining Aspen Academy as a Second Grade Language Arts Teacher. This will be her 5th year as a classroom teacher, in which she previously taught Kindergarten and First Grade. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, she was living in San Jose, California, and now she is ready to grow her roots in the amazing Aspen Academy community. When she is not in her classroom, you can usually find her in the kitchen baking or cooking.