Narrative Writing Rubric Examples

Instructor: Eric Campos

Eric has tutored in English, writing, history, and other subjects.

Using narratives as a writing exercise is a great way to stimulate imagination and practice writing skills. This article will discuss the purpose of a narrative writing rubric, examples, and criteria.

Why Use A Rubric?

Using a rubric in narrative writing provides guidance and structure both for the student as well as the teacher. You can use the rubric to emphasize expectations you have for your students, such as supporting their ideas and having a thesis statement. Specifically for narrative writing, the rubric will help students stay focused while at the same time allowing for creativity in the narrative process. This will also allow you to grade papers easier. By assigning points to certain aspects of the narrative, students will know how to prepare their writing, and you'll have a point of reference for grading rather than just assigning a number grade from scratch.

Exhibit Your Expectations

Many rubric templates can be found online but what they all share in common is that they clearly label teacher expectations and how the students can meet these expectations. As the teacher you can choose these expectations and what you would like the students to exhibit in their writing. Examples of these criteria can include:

  • Introduction: writer opens the narrative clearly and in a way that engages the reader, and the introduction includes a thesis
  • Supporting Structures: writer elaborates on points made by citing evidence and explaining ideas
  • Organization: narrative structure is clearly outlined with topics and paragraphs building onto the next
  • Transitional Sentences: paragraphs flow with smooth transitions
  • Conclusion: conclusion restates the thesis and properly sums up the information of the paper
  • Mechanics: the paper is free of editorial and grammatical errors

Outline Scoring Potential

The second part of creating a rubric is assigning scores to meet the expectations you've outlined, and even describing what kind of work contributes to the scores. Here's an example to give you an idea:

Scoring Category Description 20 points 15 points 10 points 5 points

As you can see from the outline above, four potential scores were assigned for the category. Students will know that writing a very good introduction will earn them 20 points and writing a poor introduction will only earn them 5 points. The middle points will naturally show scores that are in between. You can elaborate on why you assign each score within the rubric itself, or even on the side of the rubric sheet. Here's an example:

20 15 10 5
Introduction is very well written and engages the audience
Thesis is clearly defined
Introduction is well written, but the thesis could be clearer Introduction somewhat engages the reader, but the thesis is not clear Introduction doesn't engage the audience and lacks a strong thesis

You can substitute these descriptions for your own. You can even use one-word descriptions like excellent, good, fair, and poor. Narrative rubrics are flexible and can be catered to any specific paper.

Online Resources

Additional narrative rubric examples and resources can be found online.'s lesson on using rubrics for literacy instruction can give you additional insight into creating rubrics and their importance in reiterative learning cycles. The General Project and Writing Rubric lesson offers a visual representation of a rubric and some additional tips on creating your own rubrics that you may find useful as well. For more information on narrative writing structures and some significant components you can critique in this type of writing, you can also look at this Writing a Narrative Paragraph resource. You can also use this lesson to guide your students through this writing process.

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.