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The Elements of a Narrative for the Fourth Grade

by Dana Tuffelmire

Writing is an important component of any fourth-grade curriculum. Students need ample opportunities to read varied examples and to write their own narratives. Teachers often teach students how to recognize a good narrative by pointing out specific elements of narratives. Fourth graders then can implement elements of the examples into their own writing.

Characters

Children learn to recognize the characters in a story as early as preschool. By fourth grade, students likely have a good grasp of characters. Fourth graders should be able to further analyze characters by differentiating between the protagonist, antagonist and supporting characters. Teach students to point out specific traits of each character as well.

Setting

The setting refers to the place and time of the narrative. Some settings are easily recognizable and remain the same throughout the entire story while others require some analyzing. Teachers can help fourth graders identify setting changes throughout the story. Help fourth graders determine the time frame by asking them to identify things like what time of day they think it is, if the characters talk or look the same as them and if the story takes place on one day or multiple days.

Plot

The plot refers to the events in the story. Fourth graders can analyze the plot by differentiating between events that keep the plot moving along and unimportant events. They can identify events leading up to the most exciting part of the plot, or the climax, where the narrative reaches a crucial point of intensity. Teachers can then teach students to identify the falling action after the climax when the narrative winds to a close.

Conflict

All good narratives have a conflict or problem. The conflict could be between two characters, a character and a natural element or even within a character himself. Fourth graders can learn to identify when and where the conflict takes place, what the conflict is and what caused it.

Resolution

Resolution is the element of a narrative referring to the solution of the conflict. Most stories end with a resolution. Fourth graders should be able to identify when and how the problem in the story is solved. Students also should be able to identify the events that lead to the resolution. Teachers should encourage students to include resolutions in their own writing to ensure good narratives.

About the Author

Dana Tuffelmire has been writing for DMS for three years. She taught elementary school for seven years and earned a master’s of education degree with a specialization in literacy. She is currently a stay-at-home mom to two sons. Her dream is to one day write a children's book.

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