Elements Of Personal Narrative Essay

                                                 Personal Narrative


A Personal Narrative is a story about yourself.  


Personal = Belonging to / having to do with oneself 

Narrative = Story


We will be writing Personal Narratives the first quarter.  You are now 8th graders--no longer little kids--so I expect you to write a Personal Narrative that is insightful and reflects on an important event in your life.  It should be an event that was a turning point in your life.  You learned something from this event--maybe you learned something about yourself, the people around you, or the world around you.  You will be expected to reflect on these lessons in the writing of your Personal Narrative.


Reflection= looking back on an experience and determining the importance of that experience; what you learned; insightful thoughts about a subject


Learning Goals for the Personal Narrative Unit:

  • utilize the steps of the Writing Process
  • understand the elements of narrative writing (story elements)
  • organize writing in chronological order
  • compose a sophisticated introduction technique
  • tell your story in first person point of view
  • include interesting character reactions in writing
  • include insightful reflection in writing
  • use a reflective conclusion technique
  • use proper English conventions (spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization)
  • understand expectations for, and practice, ISAT personal narrative writing prompt


Click the following to download handouts and mini-lessons:


Elements of Personal Narrative Powerpoint

4-Square Organizer for Personal Narrative

Personal Narrative Organizer

Concept Map

Reactions and Reflection Powerpoint

Revision Sheet

Correct Essay Format (This is what your essay final copy should look like.)

Personal Narrative Rubric


Visual Component

After you complete your Personal Narrative Essay, I would like you to create a Visual Component of your essay to share with the class.  You may choose one of four formats for your Visual Component:  Quilt Square, Flower Pot, Story Pyramid, and Mobile.  Each design requires that you include the four main story elements from your Personal Narrative (characters, setting, turning point, reflection).  You will also include pictures and other design elements in your visual.


Visual Component Downloads:

Visual Component Instructions

Visual Component Rubric


Narrative Essays


The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.

Contributors: Jack Baker, Allen Brizee, Elizabeth Angeli
Last Edited: 2013-07-30 01:39:00

What is a narrative essay?

When writing a narrative essay, one might think of it as telling a story. These essays are often anecdotal, experiential, and personal—allowing students to express themselves in a creative and, quite often, moving ways.

Here are some guidelines for writing a narrative essay.

  • If written as a story, the essay should include all the parts of a story.

This means that you must include an introduction, plot, characters, setting, climax, and conclusion.

  • When would a narrative essay not be written as a story?

A good example of this is when an instructor asks a student to write a book report. Obviously, this would not necessarily follow the pattern of a story and would focus on providing an informative narrative for the reader.

  • The essay should have a purpose.

Make a point! Think of this as the thesis of your story. If there is no point to what you are narrating, why narrate it at all?

  • The essay should be written from a clear point of view.

It is quite common for narrative essays to be written from the standpoint of the author; however, this is not the sole perspective to be considered. Creativity in narrative essays often times manifests itself in the form of authorial perspective.

  • Use clear and concise language throughout the essay.

Much like the descriptive essay, narrative essays are effective when the language is carefully, particularly, and artfully chosen. Use specific language to evoke specific emotions and senses in the reader.

  • The use of the first person pronoun ‘I’ is welcomed.

Do not abuse this guideline! Though it is welcomed it is not necessary—nor should it be overused for lack of clearer diction.

Have a clear introduction that sets the tone for the remainder of the essay. Do not leave the reader guessing about the purpose of your narrative. Remember, you are in control of the essay, so guide it where you desire (just make sure your audience can follow your lead).

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