Narrative Essay Topics for High School

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Narrative essays can be great for helping high school students extend themselves as writers and experiment with different structures and styles. This lesson offers some narrative essay topics that are sure to engage high school students.

The Narrative Essay in High School

As someone who teaches writing to high school students, you may be looking for ways to help your students expand their writing, engage with a variety of formats and structures, and also express themselves and their ideas. The narrative essay can be a wonderful genre for serving these purposes. When high school students write narrative essays, they reflect simultaneously on what makes a story engaging and what they can learn from writing and reflecting on a story. Narrative essays might tell stories from students' own lives, or they might offer narrative structure to stories students know about others or about the world. The narrative essay topics in this lesson are designed to appeal to the sophistication level and general interests of students in high school.

Personal Narrative Essay Topics

  • What is a time that you remember feeling an extreme emotion, such as intense anger, excitement, joy, or sorrow? Your essay should describe the story and also reflect on why it elicited such a strong emotion. See if you can write in a way that allows your reader to experience the emotion alongside you.
  • Describe the first time you mastered a new skill. Tell about this experience as though you are telling a story, with characters, setting, problem and solution. Reflect on the emotions that went along with the learning and the mastery, considering any lessons you learned about yourself while learning the skill you are primarily focusing on.
  • Write an essay about a time you were involved in a difficult conflict and had to figure out a way to resolve it. Describe what went into the conflict, why it felt difficult or meaningful, and how you came to a resolution, as well as what, if anything, you learned from the experience. Reflect on the nature and purpose of conflict from your own points of view.

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