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Standard 3: Critical Reading and Writing

Students will apply critical thinking skills to reading and writing.


WRITING: Students will write for varied purposes and audiences in all modes, using fully developed ideas, strong organization, well-chosen words, fluent sentences, and appropriate voice.

5.3.W.1 NARRATIVE Students will write narratives incorporating characters, plot, setting, point of view, conflict (i.e., internal, external), and dialogue.

Student Actions 

Teacher Actions 

  • Students write a real or imaginary story with the following elements:

    • characters and character dialogue

    • setting (place and time)

    • point of view, determining if a narrator or other character is telling the story.

    • plot including an internal or external conflict and resolution.

  • Students use a checklist and a rubric to edit and revise their composition. 

  • Students highlight or underline items on the checklist in different colors to show evidence within their composition.  

  • Teachers describe the elements of a strong narrative writing piece.

  • Teachers share mentor texts to show how authors:

    • Establish characters

    • Establish setting (place and time)

    • Establish point of view

    • Develop a plot (beginning, internal and external conflict and resolution, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution)

    • Include character dialogue.

      • Tell one story without dialogue and one with dialogue to show how adding dialogue to stories is more entertaining and helps to better understand the characters thoughts and emotions.

      • Guiding Questions: “Where could I add dialogue to let readers know how I was feeling?  or understand what I was thinking?”

  • Teachers model how to write a narrative by Writing Aloud through a piece of their own writing and allow time for students to practice composing narratives while realizing not every piece needs to be taken completely through the process.

  • Teachers monitor and provide opportunities for students to receive feedback on their writing regarding characters, plot, setting, point of view, and conflict. 

  • Teachers introduce students to simple rubrics or checklists and model using them throughout all five stages of the writing process. It is helpful to use the OSDE rubric for 5th grade writing.

    • Teachers should chose 1-3 skills to focus on for a piece of writing and not overwhelm students with a long list at this beginning stage. 

    • Teachers model and guide students to underline the items on the checklist in different colors or highlight where they see evidence of these items. 

  • Teachers encourage students to be more descriptive, have them begin by focusing on a moment of a longer story. EX: A student is writing about a trip to an amusement park, only write about their favorite ride and that experience.

  • Teaching Narrative and Informational writing can be combined by writing Science Fiction or Historical Fiction pieces with bibliographies and factual information.

Supporting Resource

Teacher Insights 

Narrative Anchor Set (PDF)

Plan a Problem in Narrative Writing (webpage)

Narrative Writing (webpage)

OK ELA Framework: Narrative Writing (webpage)

Story Elements Alive! (webpage)

Comics in the Classroom as an Introduction to Narrative Structure (webpage)

Blending Fiction and Nonfiction to Improve Comprehension and Writing Skills (webpage)

Make a Splash! Using Dramatic Experience to "Explode the Moment" (webpage)




  • Narrative writing is a piece of writing characterized by a main character in a setting who encounters a problem or engages in an interesting, significant or entertaining activity or experience. Narrative writing tells a story.

  • What happens to this main character is called the plot, which includes a beginning, middle, and ending.  

  • Narrative stories can be fiction or non-fiction.

  • Characters

    • Who are the main characters in the story?

    • Who is telling the story and what is their point of view?

  • Plot

    • What are the main events that occur in the story?

    • In what order do the events happen? Focus on establishing a logical sequence.

    • Build to a climax – bring action to a close.

    • How was the story resolved?

  • Setting

    • When and where does the story take place?

  • Point of View

    • Definition: the way in which an author reveals a viewpoint or perspective.

    • Students will choose a first person point of view for a personal narrative.

    • Students will choose a first or third person point of view for a story.

  • Conflict

    • Definition: struggle or clash between opposing characters, forces, or emotions

      • Internal conflict takes place within the mind of the character who struggles to make a decision, take an action, or overcome a feeling.

    • CHARACTER vs. SELF:  the character must overcome an internal fear, or make a difficult decision.  

  • External conflict occurs outwardly between a character and a force in nature

    • CHARACTER vs. CHARACTER:  two characters have a direct conflict with each other.  

    • CHARACTER vs. SOCIETY:  the character is rebelling against their society’s beliefs, laws, or cultural norms.

    • CHARACTER vs. NATURE: the character has a direct conflict with an aspect of nature (weather, animal).

  • A character can experience both internal and external conflict in a narrative.

    • What problem(s) does the main character have to solve?

    • What is the main character’s goal? What is this character trying to achieve?

    • By the end of the story, the conflict will be resolved in some way.

  • Dialogue

    • Students are asked to include dialogue for the first time at this level.

    • Dialogue adds to a narrative by giving readers a better understanding of characters and/or plot. 


Due to recursive nature of the standards, it is essential that teachers are aware of how all objectives within and between strands work together for optimal instruction.

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