4th Grade - Writing Narratives

Writing narratives
Write narratives: A - relate ideas, observations, or recollections of an event or experience, B - Provide a context to enable the reader to imagine the world of the event or experience, C - Use concrete sensory details, D - Provide insight into why the se
The ability to share or relate experiences or observations in a detailed, descriptive context with concrete sensory details so that the reader can imagine the scene and gain insight to why the event is memorable.

Sample Problems


What is a narrative? (a story, tale, account, description, etc.)


What does relate mean? (connect, tell, narrate, associate, interact, etc.)


What are recollections? (remembrances, memories, memoirs, reminiscences, etc.)


What is context? (background, circumstance, situation, etc.)


What are concrete sensory details? (descriptive characteristics or attributes based on senses – sight, sound, touch, smell, taste)

Learning Tips


Have sensory experiences! Use all of the five senses and write about each after your experience. In each instance, write down as many, varied words (most likely adjectives) to describe the experience. Pay close attention to the item’s attributes – its color, size, shape, texture, intensity, etc. You could record your findings in a table like this:


a computer mouse


a car honk


a candle


a cracker


a light bulb (when off!)














soft white

Remember to add these descriptive details to your writing to make it better!


Why do we remember things? What makes them memorable? Usually extreme situations or extensive details help us remember things better. Also, making connections to memories or breaking memories down into smaller parts to easily connect to helps our brains to remember. Practice the act of taking a recent memory and breaking it down into parts so it is easier to remember the details. You can use a tree map or other graphic organizer to help you sort your ideas.


A detailed, clear context in writing is essential in order to connect with your reader or audience. Several forms of writing for different purposes are listed in the top row. What contexts could each of these writing forms occur in, if you could decide? Write them in the bottom row. [Possible answers shown for demonstration purposes.]






Report Research

a specific person, place, or event

how to do something

a personal experience

to portray an opinion or point of view

to fix a problem

about a very specific topic

dad’s 40th birthday

how to brush your teeth

the first time riding a bike

a political debate

picking up trash at school

the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina


Narratives can be fictional or factual. How can you tell the difference? Fictional narratives can be fantasies, taking place in imaginary places and/ or with imaginary characters. Factual narratives can be a letter, a recipe, or a how-to text. Make a list of all of the narratives you have read and written that fit in these categories.


We really have more in common with others than we know. Making connections or establishing relationships based on commonalities can be a great feeling. Talk to people you know well and others that you don’t know as well. Start conversation by sharing an experience you think they might be able to relate to – how many connections can you make?

Extra Help Problems


In what ways will noticing details make a story better? (they can make it more interesting)


Why do you think it is important to notice details? (to make writing better; to make us more observant)


What is insight? (perception, understanding, awareness, intuition, etc.)


What does memorable mean? (unforgettable, remarkable, outstanding, significant, etc.)


What are ideas? (thoughts, dreams, beliefs, etc.)


What are observations? (comments, explanations, interpretations, etc.)


What is an event? (a happening, an occurrence, etc.)


What is an experience? (contact or encounter that can bring knowledge; a feeling)


What are similarities between events and experiences? (they can both be happenings)


What are differences between events and experiences? (events are usually something seen and often planned while experiences can be unseen and unplanned)


What are the five senses? (sight, hearing, touch/ feel, smell, taste)


What do you use to be able to see? (eyes)


What do you use to be able to hear? (ears)


What do you use to be able to feel? (hands, fingers, toes, “heart”, brain, etc.)


What do you use to be able to smell? (nose)


What do you use to be able to taste? (tongue, nose)


What is a point of view? (a perspective, opinion, belief, thought, etc.)


What is a first-person narrative? (when the character is telling about their event or experience using words like “I” “me” and “my”)


What is a second-person narrative? (when the text talks to the reader using words like “you” and “your”)


What is a third-person narrative? (when the author is a narrator, telling what happens to the characters in the story, and sometimes what the characters think or feel)



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