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Common Core Narrative Writing Prompts

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Find some ideas for prompts that can help students practice Common Core narrative writing with this article. You'll be able to gets ideas for various grade levels and some additional educational tips.

Kindergarten Prompts

Writers at this level won't be providing long narratives. Lengthy written directions can also prove intimidating. Keep this in mind when selecting a prompt.

A good way to adapt to the needs of this age-group is by focusing on picture prompts for narrative writing. Choose a photo that would interest your students and instruct them to write a story about what they see. Emphasize events that could be taking place in the picture, and encourage younger students to draw pictures of their own that help illustrate the situation.

You might choose pictures of:

  • Animals
  • Dinosaurs
  • Other children playing
  • Seasonal activities

Quick Tip:

For more reading and writing teaching techniques geared towards the kindergarten classroom, take a look at this lesson on how to teach kindergarten language arts.

Elementary Prompts

Similar to kindergarten prompts, elementary-level narrative writing prompts typically rely on visual observations. While a picture-based prompt is likely the best option, elementary students can also benefit from some written instructions. For example, you might ask them to include dialogue and main characters in their story.

Quick Tip:

Provide your elementary-aged students with additional help with this chapter on the writing process for elementary school. These lessons help students review the steps for writing essays and can help them get more comfortable with this area of language arts.

Middle and High School Prompts

Common Core narrative writing shifts focus for students in middle and high school. Prompts can become more in-depth as students progress to high school, though the basic structure stays the same. These prompts become more involved with students reading articles and excerpts and then writing narratives based on what they've read.

These articles can focus on historic events that students may also be learning about, such as the Great Depression or a specific war. Students should be encouraged to write about the viewpoint of an individual during this particular period.

Once you have decided on an event or time period for your students to focus on, you can pick a variety of prompts to offer them, such as:

  • A child watching another dust storm approach
  • A young man sneaking on and off trains
  • A young woman in a migrant camp
  • A woman offering to feed a family passing through her area

Quick Tip:

You can offer your middle school students additional help by directing them to this chapter on writing narratives for the Common Core. These lessons can help students learn how to begin, develop and end their narrative essays.

High school students can improve their narrative approach with this chapter on Common Core high school writing narratives. Students can find detailed information about essay writing and how to make their writing stand out.

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