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Innovative Projects

Storytelling and First Person Narrative Writing

by Mary Garrett

Francis Howell North High School, St. Charles, Missouri - First semester 2005

Keywords: Language arts, oral presentation, storytelling, narrative writing, personal stories, family history, cultural awareness and understanding


Donald Davis explains in Writing as a Second Language that hearing and speaking are easier and more natural for most students than reading and writing. I therefore used storytelling to help my sophomores write their own personal narrative stories.

We began with a week of idea-gathering, listening to appropriate stories. Students began looking for stories in their own lives and took turns telling their stories to a partner. As students continued working on their autobiographical narratives the next week, we scheduled peer editing of their papers as well as listening to and reading more autobiographical stories. The next writing assignment was to interview an older relative and write a story from his/her life.

The resulting stories were wonderful. One paper, though, brought me to tears, a brother murdered brutally -- something no sister, and no mother, should have to ever go through.

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