A Chapter Book-inspired Narrative Writing Lesson

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Student Samples Page:
Episodic Narrative Writing

developing a series of episodes
that build on a theme

The writing of author Patricia Reilly Giff is inspiring student writers to try new techniques with the traits of idea development and organization. Join us in teaching (and adapting) this on-line lesson and sharing your students' work.

You can publish up to three of your students' edited and finished stories at this page.

Use these samples to inspire your student writers! Discussing the strengths of published student samples before, while, and after using this on-line assignment is important. If your students are engaged in trait- or skill-inspired discussions about any of the samples we've posted here, they will produce better writing, especially if you help them take their writing all the way through the writing process.

Thank you, those who share their students' writing with us.

Additional Student Samples Being Sought:
Grades 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12

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WritingFix is currently seeking additional student samples from this writing assignment that can be featured in this space. Submitted student work must show evidence of revision, editing, and the final draft must be typed and sent through e-mail.

To have us consider your students' writing for inclusion on this page, you must post the writing to our Ning page dedicated to this lesson. Click here to access that page. You must first be a member of the Writing Lesson of the Month Network in order to post.

Middle School Examples:

by Liam, eighth grade writer

I. The First Shine

A seven -year -old can take any situation and turn it around. We have all been seven, and I know what I am talking about. Back then, when I got the violin, I had only the eyes to see what I wanted to see-- all pleasure and no business. The lights were shining.

II. The Foot Pad

Tahni was her name, and she was my first teacher. She taught in a performing room with a big window that let the sun in, located in the vast halls of the Temple of Performing Arts. Though soon after she moved to Nebraska, she had a kind of quiet but outgoing personality. She went with the crowd but also trail blazed. Her favorite trailblazing technique was THE PAD, a technique with both tracing skills and keeping your temper to a minimum level of frustration. It was the first thing about the violin I actually learned from a teacher and the only thing I have ever learned from a hunk of white cardboard with traces of my feet in marker showing me my foot posture. But it showed the basics, and--then--that was all I needed.

(These are just the first two episodes from Liam's larger narrative. Click here to view the whole essay.)

American Lemonade
by Grace, eighth grade writer

1. The night before you serve your homemade lemonade, place lemon juice into ice cube trays and stash in the freezer.

I stood five long feet away and stared at the intricate rug. Dare I? It seemed that there was nothing to do at 11:00 on the first day of summer. I had already cleaned my room, ridden my bike, and watched TV. Fourth grade had filled my days, and without it, my life was an empty pitcher.

“Mommm…” I whined, “I’m bored.”

“First day of summer, and you’re already bored, huh?” I nodded sullenly. “Well, Gracie, how about you and I make pink lemonade? You know what they say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I smiled.

(These is just the first episode from Grace's larger narrative. Click here to view the whole essay.)

Flash Flood
by Greyson, eighth grade writer

An Enjoyable Isolation
I have always loved rain. While most would take a sunny day over a rainy one, rain has always brightened my day. Maybe it’s because it made it darker, or maybe I like the smell, but whatever the reason, I always feel amazing during the dreariest of days. I could spend a good portion of an hour simply staring out the window on a rainy day, looking at the clouds and listening to the tapping of the droplets buffeting the glass; but most of the time I spent my rainy days in the basement, days upon days within my sanctuary, playing games. I rarely had homework; even rarer, I went to a friend’s house. Don’t get me wrong, I had friends at school, but living where your grandparents are the only neighbors for a few miles causes an enjoyable isolation.

(This is just the one episodes from Greyson's larger narrative. Click here to view his whole essay.)

High School Examples:

My Old Man
by Jake, tenth grade writer

Drops of sweat slowly slide down his forehead. He’s bluffing. I know he is bluffing. The dealer turns over a jack of clubs. I have him now. I smoothly check. He looks at me like I have an I.Q. of 20. He winks at me and throws all his chips to the center.

“All in,” he slyly states.

I look at my cards then I look at him and smile. “All in,” I reply.

He flips over a straight thinking he has won. Then I slowly turn over a royal flush. His devious smile suddenly shifts to a frown.

I rake in the chips and look at his gloomy face and say, “Nice try, Dad.”

(This is just the first episode from Jake's larger narrative. Click here to view his whole essay.)

At the Farm
by Emma, eleventh grade writer

The Woods
It was about 1:30 p.m., and we had all just stuffed ourselves full of my Nana’s cooking. My Poppy pulled out of their huge barn on his glorious, green, John Deer tractor. The tractor seemed so big as it crept out from the shadows. My brother, sisters and I piled onto the trailer being towed behind the tractor. Rollie pollies were everywhere.

He took us down to the end of the fields where the cows rest after lunch. They looked at us like we were crazy as we slipped and slid through the mud. The only way to get to the other side of the fence was to go under. So that’s what we did. One by one we crawled down to the corner of the fence and slid through the hole. What lay on the other side were amazing things: pine trees taller than sky scrapers and much more wide than houses, bleeding hearts scattered about, entangled with the black berry bushes, streams running along paths made by the cows. My Poppy would later teach me about all of these things and share his secrets of how to mend a Stinging Nettle scratch or what to do if a cow got stuck.

We all stood there, gazing up at the wall of pine needles we were about to enter. I took one last deep breath of the cold, damp air, took my Poppy’s hand and followed him into the woods.

(These is just the first episode from Emma's larger narrative. Click here to view her whole essay.)

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