We're in the thick of our narrative units of study in writing here at EMES. It is amazing to see our narrative writers at work and watch the learning progression grow all the way from our 4 year olds in PreK to our sixth grade students.
In her blog post this week, at Two Writing Teachers, Elizabeth Moore, stressed the importance of narrative writing.
"Narrative is how human beings organize and make sense out of experiences — it’s not only a genre, it’s a way of thinking. It’s a tool that applies not only to writing, but to business, history, art, and nearly every aspect of social life. Not only do kids need narrative writing as a tool for the future, many kids need personal narrative now as a tool for organizing their experiences, and making sense out of the ups and downs of life as a kid."
This week I spent a bit of time with the PreK-4 year olds. The importance of oral storytelling as the first step to becoming writers was the intent of my very mini, mini-lesson for these mini people! They were such a terrific audience when I told them my story, "The day we saw a BUNNY in a stroller!" Foremost, students love to hear stories, our stories, true stories. If we share our stories with them, students very quickly have their own stories to tell. The rehearsal of the spoken word is their foray into the world of a future writer. The 4 year olds immediately had their own stories to tell, it was amazing how many true bunny stories there were, and many others as well. These little people were doing the first step in being narrative writers, telling their own stories.
As I journey through our building, talking with students and teachers about narrative writing, I'm reminding them about telling their stories first, then writing them. The telling, rehearsing and practicing is so important for narrative writing. We can't forget it!. I've told the bunny in the stroller story over and over again with different audiences, different approaches, different lengths and different details. The one constantt is that it is a true, interesting story of my life, (or at least I think so!) one of many I'm willing to share so that my students can use it as an invitation to tell their own stories. Tell them first, then write, write, write. Our lives are FULL of amazing stories, no two ever the same. What little life experience will you share today? What story will you tell your students today? What will they share in return? I can't wait to hear!